In our February 5, 2015, blog, we alerted you to the fact that the OCC will be beefing up its BSA/AML examinations. Essentially they will do away with “recommendations” for BSA/AML compliance and will designate BSA/AML problems as either matters requiring attention or violations of law. This means any BSA/AML problems could become enforcement actions if they are not addressed quickly.
James F. Vivenzio, Senior Counsel for Bank Secrecy Act/AML for the OCC, has advised that in light of this policy-shift banks should work closely with their examiners when they encounter a BSA/AML compliance issue in order to show that they are serious about fixing the problem. In turn, the examiners could give the banks more time to address any BSA/AML compliance issues.
While dealing with the formalities of any enforcement action can be tedious, the end result could actually be beneficial for banks. In the past, many times a bank was provided “recommendations” they were expected to follow yet many were based more on examiner opinion than regulatory guidance. With all BSA/AML issues now being included in the Report of Examination (ROE) there is a better chance for clarity and consistency from the upper ranks of the OCC.