Sharing information can help credit unions and other financial institutions improve their ability to identify and report potential money laundering and terror-financing activities, speakers told attendees Monday at the CUNA Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Conference.
Under the USA PATRIOT Act’s Section 314(b), credit unions and other financial institutions may share information with one another to identify and report to the federal government activities that may involve money laundering or terrorist activity. They can do so only after providing notice to the U. S. Department of the Treasury.
Bill Berg, vice president of compliance training and information for the League of Southeastern Credit Unions, encouraged BSA compliance officers to maximize their information-sharing capabilities by signing on to the 314(b) voluntary information sharing program.
Voluntary information sharing can enhance credit unions’ anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) ability, Berg notes, with respect to:
• Gathering additional and potentially invaluable information on consumers or transactions potentially related to money laundering or terrorist financing, including previously unknown accounts, activities, and/or associated entities or individuals.
• Shedding more comprehensive light on financial trails, especially if they are complex and appear to be layered among numerous financial institutions, entities, and jurisdictions.
• Building a more comprehensive and accurate picture of a consumer’s activities where potential money laundering or terrorist financing is suspected.
• Alerting the contacted financial institution to suspicious activities it may not have known about.
• Facilitating the filing of more comprehensive Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) than would otherwise be filed in the absence of 314(b) information sharing.
• Aiding in identifying and collectively stemming money laundering and terrorist financing methods and schemes.
• Facilitating efficient SAR reporting decisions, including the identification of transactions that may have initially appeared suspicious but require no SAR.
The CUNA BSA Conference, held in partnership with the National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors, concludes Wednesday in San Antonio.