ABA voices concern about possible beneficial ownership reporting gaps

The American Bankers Association supports the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s “revised approach” to collecting beneficial ownership information, but the revised reporting form still has drawbacks, the association said today in comments to the agency. In January, FinCEN proposed allowing the use of “unknown checkboxes” on the form, thereby allowing companies to file without reporting mandatory information, but ABA and other organizations said missing information would make the BOI registry of little value to banks. In response, the agency last month said that it will require every field to be completed, and that BOI report forms can only be submitted once each required field has been filled out.

ABA commended FinCEN for responding to commenters’ concerns but was concerned that the agency also suggested it may consider an “alternative implementation” at a later date as a replacement for the unknown option. “It is very important to the nation’s banks and their customers—many of whom are among the over 32 million small businesses who will face new reporting obligations to FinCEN starting January 1, 2024—that these proposed forms contain highly useful information are clear and easy to use,” ABA said. “Therefore, we urge FinCEN to reconsider those portions of the BOIR form, and we urge [the Office of Budget and Management]only to approve a BOIR form that requires complete and compliant filing.”

In separate comments, ABA expressed support for FinCEN’s proposal to give companies created or registered in 2024 a total of 90 days to file their initial reports, instead of 30 days. ABA suggested that the extended deadline apply to all businesses created in 2024 and beyond, not just those created that year. “This deadline extension, resulting from FinCEN’s continuing dialogue with key stakeholders—including banks—will allow FinCEN an opportunity to educate the over 32 million newly regulated companies about FinCEN and the new reporting rule before any reports are due,” ABA said. The association also offered suggestions to make reporting easier for customers and banks.