The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the National Credit Union Administration, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (collectively, the Agencies) are issuing this joint statement to encourage banks1 to consider, evaluate, and, where appropriate, responsibly implement innovative approaches to meet their Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) compliance obligations, in order to further strengthen the financial system against illicit financial activity.

The Agencies recognize that private sector innovation, including new ways of using existing tools or adopting new technologies, can help banks identify and report money laundering, terrorist financing, and other illicit financial activity by enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of banks’ BSA/AML compliance programs.  To assist banks in this effort, the Agencies are committed to continued engagement with the private sector and other interested parties.

The Agencies will not penalize or criticize banks that maintain effective BSA/AML compliance programs commensurate with their risk profiles but choose not to pursue innovative approaches. While banks are expected to maintain effective BSA/AML compliance programs, the Agencies will not advocate a particular method or technology for banks to comply with BSA/AML requirements.

Details Borrowers’ Experiences Obtaining a Mortgage

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today released for public use a new loan-level dataset collected through the National Survey of Mortgage Originations (NSMO) that provides insights into borrowers’ experiences in getting a residential mortgage.

The NSMO is a component of the National Mortgage Database (NMDB®), the first comprehensive repository of detailed mortgage loan information designed to support policymaking and research efforts and to help regulators better understand emerging mortgage and housing market trends. The NMDB was launched by FHFA and the BCFP in 2012.

In each quarter since 2014, FHFA and the BCFP sent surveys to borrowers who had recently obtained mortgages to gather feedback on their experiences during the process of getting a mortgage, their perception of the mortgage market, and their future expectations. FHFA and the BCFP have been compiling the NSMO survey data and this dataset is the first public release.

The federal depository institutions regulators and FinCEN issued a joint statement to address instances in which certain banks and credit unions may decide to enter into collaborative arrangements to share resources to manage their BSA and AML obligations more efficiently and effectively.

Interagency Statement on Sharing Bank Secrecy Act Resources

October 3, 2018


The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (FRB), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (collectively, the Agencies), are publishing this statement to address instances in which banks may decide to enter into collaborative arrangements to share resources to manage their Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) obligations more efficiently and effectively. Collaborative arrangements as described in this statement generally are most suitable for banks with a community focus, less complex operations, and lower-risk profiles for money laundering or terrorist financing. The risk profile is bank-specific, and should be based on a risk assessment that properly considers all risk areas, including products, services, customers, entities, and geographic locations.

Collaborative arrangements involve two or more banks with the objective of participating in a common activity or pooling resources to achieve a common goal. Banks use collaborative arrangements to pool human, technology, or other resources to reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies, and leverage specialized expertise.

Notably, this interagency statement does not apply to collaborative arrangements or consortia formed for the purpose of sharing information under Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act. Further, banks that form collaborative arrangements as described in this interagency statement are not an association for purposes of Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act.  Banks should contact FinCEN for additional information concerning the 314(b) program and requirements.

WASHINGTON — The midterm elections Tuesday night upended the power dynamic in the nation's capital, with Democrats seizing control of the House. But the net result of that for financial institutions will likely be very little change in regulatory or legislative policy.

With Republicans still controlling the Senate, regulators and banks are in for two years of even more divided government. Rather than tangible reforms, the biggest impact will be a change in rhetoric in the House, and perhaps mixed messaging from two chambers often in conflict.

“Democratic oversight [in the House] will be, ‘Regulators are going too far in loosening oversight,’ said Brandon Barford, a policy analyst at Beacon Policy Advisors. He added that the upper chamber will urge the agencies to continue writing rules under the regulatory relief law passed last spring. “Republican oversight in the Senate is going to be, ‘You’re not moving fast enough to implement S 2155.’”

If the GOP had held on to power in the House, the industry could have hoped for more momentum on the reg relief front. But the recent Senate law making targeted changes to the Dodd-Frank Act, which President Trump signed in May, may be the last major piece of financial services legislation for the foreseeable future.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed by Congress in 1990, is considered to be the most comprehensive civil rights law regarding the needs of individuals with disabilities. The ADA prohibits discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. Financial institutions are now quite familiar with public accommodations such as braille on ATMs, ramps, and wider doors for easier access. And, financial institutions, while brick and mortar still exist, have a stronger presence electronically now more than ever. When was the last time your financial institution reviewed its website for ADA compliance? Are you familiar with the proposed rule in 2010 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) that would amend Title III? While this proposed rule has been postponed multiple times, your financial institution may not want to sit back and wait for a final rule to be announced. Taking a proactive stance allows your financial institution to possibly prevent any lawsuits and also provide a fair experience for all users, including those individuals with disabilities.

Risk Assessment

Before implementing any type of control to mitigate risk, it's important to understand where your financial institution lands in terms of risk. As part of the risk assessment process, it's important to know if your financial institution is required to be compliant with the ADA on its website. More than likely, if your financial institution is required to comply for public accommodations, its website will be more than likely required to comply as well. Make sure that your risk assessment is all encompassing of the ADA and hone in on website accessibility.