Bank regulators in the US are of the view that they have not increased their expectations for banks’ compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and counter-terrorist financing (CFT) regulations.
Bankers who heard this view at a recent American Bankers Association meeting in Washington disagree.
Regulators recognise that there is a perception that examiners have increased their scrutiny on those issues but dispute whether this is really happening.
Director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp’s (FDIC’s) division of Risk Management Supervision, Doreen Eberley, told the meeting that she frequently hears concerns from bankers that regulators have turned up the heat on Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and AML compliance.
But she argues that at the FDIC, there had been no significant increase in the number of enforcement actions related to BSA and AML compliance problems and added that examiners had no instructions to focus on the issue.
Eberly’s view won support from other regulators from the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, but bankers attending the meeting disagreed with regulators’ assessment.
They argued that examiners had become tougher while the regulators’ comments at the meeting demonstrated a disconnect between Washington-based officials and examiners on the ground who regularly interact with banks.
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