ABA Requests Clearer Anti-Money Laundering Guidance
The American Bankers Association (ABA) has told US Congress that clearer anti-money laundering guidance is necessary to help bankers assess the risk of money services businesses and determine whether or not to maintain them as clients. In his testimony before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, John Byrne, director of the ABA Center for Regulatory Compliance, testified that the lack of clear guidance has unintentionally caused many banks to sever relationships with money services businesses (MSB) and close their accounts. Bank regulators and examiners labelled these businesses as “high risk,” yet provided little advice on what determines a “good” versus a “bad” MSB. “The current state of confusion must end,” said Byrne. “The industry certainly understands and appreciates the need to analyze the levels of risk involved with maintaining MSB relationships. The problem, however, is how much analysis is sufficient.” Byrne praised the recent announcement that such guidance is forthcoming and mentioned a need for joint industry/government training of bankers and examiners when it is released.