Washington, D.C. — Today, Bank Policy Institute President & CEO Greg Baer testified before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on efforts to end anonymous shell companies by requiring business owners to provide their name, date of birth, address, and driver’s license or passport number when forming a new company. In advance of the hearing, BPI released a survey conducted by Morning Consult that suggests reform is broadly supported by small business owners. Of small business owners with an opinion, 75% said that they support providing their personal information when forming a company, and two-thirds believe that a requirement to provide personal information would not be burdensome.
“While as a general matter our country does more than any other to identify and block the proceeds of crime, we are among the worst when it comes to allowing criminals to use the corporate form to cloak ownership; as a result, the United States has become a safe haven for those who wish to hide the proceeds or instruments of illegal activity.,” stated Greg Baer in his written testimony. “Legislation to allow law enforcement to look behind the corporate veil, including the draft recently circulated by a bipartisan group of Senators on this Committee, would thus reduce crime and terrorist activity, and enhance the status of the United States as a country that fights against, not harbors, the worst people in the world.”
The survey conducted by Morning Consult sampled small business owners and produced the following key results:
- 75% of small business owners with an opinion support requiring small business owners to provide their personal information when forming their company.
- 2/3 of small business owners agree that providing personal information when forming their company would not be burdensome.
- Almost 3/4 of small business owners say they are willing to provide their personal information when forming their company.
- A majority of small business owners with an opinion say that the benefits of assisting law enforcement to help stop criminal activity outweigh the privacy concerns related to providing personal information when forming a company.
Bank Policy Institute has been an outspoken advocate for congressional efforts to end anonymous shell companies and published a report in 2017 which aligns with many of the ideas included the draft bill. Similar legislation is being considered in the House, and was recently voted out of the House Financial Services Committee on a bipartisan vote of 46-13.
About the Bank Policy Institute. The Bank Policy Institute (BPI) is a nonpartisan public policy, research and advocacy group, representing the nation’s leading banks and their customers. Our members include universal banks, regional banks and the major foreign banks doing business in the United States. Collectively, they employ almost 2 million Americans, make nearly half of the nation’s small business loans, and are an engine for financial innovation and economic growth.
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