Senate ILLICIT CASH Act addresses need for BSA/AML relief

October 2, 2019

CUNA is encouraged by the Improving Laundering Laws and Increasing Comprehensive Information Tracking of Criminal Activity in Shell Holdings (ILLICIT CASH) Act (S. 2563) it wrote to the bill’s sponsors Wednesday. CUNA wrote a letter of support Wednesday to bill sponsors Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)

“This bill addresses the redundancies, unnecessary burdens, and opportunities for efficiencies within the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) statutory framework,” the letter reads. “However, it is important to note that regulatory regimes like the Bank Secrecy Act can cause an undue burden, particularly for smaller financial institutions, and should be a scalable framework.”

CUNA appreciates several of the areas addressed in the bill, including the following provisions:

Title I:

  • Requiring Treasury to establish national exam and supervision priorities intended to supplement and guide financial institutions, financial regulators, and law enforcement on handling AML-CFT (combatting the financing of terrorism) threats;
  • Establishing a Treasury financial institution liaison to seek and receive comments from financial institutions regarding AML-CFT rules and regulations and examinations, including regarding the banking regulators.

Title II:

  • Requiring annual reports from the Department of Justice to Treasury on the use of BSA reporting by law enforcement;
  • Requiring periodic law enforcement feedback to financial institutions on their suspicious activity reports;
  • Reviewing and streamlining reporting requirements to ensure a “high degree of usefulness” for CTR/SAR filings, including a review of reporting fields, as well as a review of appropriate ways to promote financial inclusions and avoid unnecessary de-risking;
  • Requiring Treasury and the Attorney General to review the CTR and SAR thresholds and determine whether any changes are necessary;
  • Requiring a formal review of all AML-CFT regulations and guidance with public comment to remove outdated or unnecessary regulations and guidance.

Title III:

  • Establishing a path for financial institutions to share de-identified AML-CFT information for purposes of identifying suspicious activity.