Nichols: ABA is helping bankers fight financial crime

The American Bankers Association is working to bolster bankers’ efforts in the fight against financial crimes, ABA President and CEO Rob Nichols told attendees at the association’s annual Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference, which kicked off today in National Harbor, Maryland. In a keynote opening address, Nichols highlighted several key initiatives that ABA is currently spearheading to fight fraud and combat money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

Among the initiatives Nichols highlighted is a new pilot program that would empower banks to share information by leveraging the safe harbor in Section 314(b) of the USA Patriot Act. The association is working with a cohort of around 20 banks to develop and test the information exchange—which ABA will manage—with a goal of eventually offering the service to any financial institution covered under Section 314(b).

In addition, Nichols announced the launch of a new ABA AML and Fraud School in 2024 that will complement the association’s current educational offerings around fraud and financial crimes. “This virtual school will be led by industry experts who will provide AML and fraud professionals with the skills they need to support a strong financial crimes enforcement program within their banks,” Nichols said. “We need to stay a step ahead of the bad guys, and this school will help us do that.”

He also highlighted ABA’s new check fraud directory, which can assist banks in filling check warranty breach claims with other institutions, an upcoming collaboration with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to address the growing problem of check fraud, and ABA’s engagement with policymakers to implement various provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.