September 14, 2020

FinCEN issues Final Rule removing exemptions for Bank Secrecy Act compliance

On September 14, 2020, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a Final Rule that removes anti-money laundering program exemptions for banks that lack a Federal function regulator, and will now implement sections 352, 326, and 312 of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act), part of the legislative framework of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).  The exemption, that once applied to institutions like private banks, non-federally insured credit unions and trust companies, has ended, and the Final Rule now requires all banks to establish and implement minimum standards for anti-money laundering programs (Section 352); establish and implement minimum procedures for opening accounts in accordance with customer identification program requirements (Section 326); and follow beneficial ownership requirements for correspondent accounts and private banking accounts belonging to non-US persons (Section 312).

Until now, banks lacking a Federal functional regulator were only required to comply with certain BSA obligations, such as filing suspicious activity and currency transaction reports.  Banks now have 180 days from the date that the Final Rule is published in the Federal Register, to comply with remaining BSA requirements.

FinCEN press release | FinCEN Final Rule