Agencies Issue Joint Statement on Risk Based BSA/AML Supervision: Joint Statement Emphasizes the Agencies’ Risk-Focused Approach to Examinations of BSA/AML Compliance Programs

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - July 23, 2019
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On July 22, 2019, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network issued a joint statement (the “Statement”) emphasizing their risk-focused approach to examinations of banks’ Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (“BSA/AML”) compliance programs.  The Statement is primarily aimed at improving transparency into the risk-focused approach used for planning and performing BSA/AML examinations, and emphasizes that a critical aspect of the examination is the evaluation of a bank’s processes to identify, measure, monitor and control risks.  In addition, the Statement explains the role of the board of directors in establishing a bank’s risk appetite by providing guidance regarding acceptable risk exposure levels and corresponding policies, and the role of management, in translating those goals, objectives and risk limits into sound operating standards through the implementation of policies, procedures and practices.  The Statement also addresses the “de-risking phenomenon,” in which some banks have elected not to provide services to entire categories of customers to avoid BSA/AML risks, by encouraging banks to look at customers individually.