ABA urges support for beneficial ownership information bill

In a letter today to House Financial Services Committee leaders, the American Bankers Association expressed its support for the Protecting Small Business Information Act, which would require the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network to finalize all rulemakings required under the Corporate Transparency Act before any rules take effect concerning beneficial ownership information reporting requirements. If the bill were to become law, FinCEN’s beneficial ownership reporting rule affecting U.S. small businesses would no longer go into effect on Jan. 1, 2024, and ABA supports this delay, but not indefinitely.

The proposed bill, sponsored by committee Chairman Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), would ensure that banks and their customers fully understand their obligations before they suffer unintended and adverse consequences, the association said. “While ABA strongly supported the passage of the CTA and FinCEN’s mission to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering, it is critical that FinCEN work with financial institutions and other stakeholders to achieve congruence between CTA objectives and existing anti-money laundering program requirements.”

Among other things, FinCEN should propose a better access rule, as the current proposal creates a framework in which banks’ access to the agency’s beneficial ownership registry will be so limited that it will effectively be useless, resulting in a dual reporting regime for both banks and small businesses, ABA said. Also, FinCEN should identify proposed amendments to the customer due diligence rule that will facilitate the improved and efficient process contemplated by the CTA, it added.