FinCEN Should Focus on Flexibility, Clarity and Coordination When Defining AML Effectiveness

Washington, D.C. — The Bank Policy Institute (BPI) submitted a comment letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) yesterday in response to an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) issued by the agency. The letter proposes recommendations for how to define AML program effectiveness and recommends that FinCEN, in coordination with other regulatory agencies, provide institutions the flexibility to design AML programs that align with their business models. This flexibility, coupled with regulatory reforms, would empower banks to devote additional resources to working with law enforcement to address more serious crimes and would improve the utility of the information available to the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

“Modifying the existing AML program requirements to allow for greater flexibility, clarity and coordination among agencies will dramatically improve effectiveness and benefit both the U.S. financial system and national security,” stated Angelena Bradfield, SVP of AML/BSA, Sanctions & Privacy at the Bank Policy Institute.

The letter calls on FinCEN to provide clarity to institutions regarding the legal obligations for meeting existing requirements. It also requests that the agency affirm a recent statement acknowledging guidance is nonbinding, and that compliance expectations apply only to law and regulations.

BPI and a coalition of financial trades also submitted an accompanying letter to FinCEN emphasizing many of these recommendations. The recommendations outlined in the ANPR were informed by the work undertaken by the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group, a public and private sector consultative body, and reflect numerous reform ideas proposed by The Clearing House (BPI’s predecessor organization) in a 2017 report.


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.