May 10, 2019

House committee advances BSA/AML reform bill

HFSCThe House Financial Services Committee concluded a markup yesterday with the advancement of the amended Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology and Examiner Reform (COUNTER) Act, H.R. 2514, and four other bills.  

The NAFCU-backed COUNTER Act, as amended during Wednesday's discussions, was passed by a 55-0 vote. A NAFCU-sought amendment included in the bill seeks to reduce the burden of certain Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filings on financial institutions and would index  the threshold for Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) to inflation. The bill would also make improvements to the BSA/AML regime, such as improved examiner training, and encourage innovation in the AML system.

Several Committee members, including Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., acknowledged that regulations such as CTRs impose burdens on smaller institutions like credit unions, increasing costs and taking valuable time away from staff.

NAFCU will continue to review the final bill and monitor it as it moves to the House floor.

The committee held H.R. 2513, the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019, offered by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., for a future mark-up at the request of the bill sponsors in an effort to garner additional support.  NAFCU has expressed its support for the legislation, which aims to help financial institutions comply with the new Customer Due Diligence (CDD) rule.

NAFCU has been active in seeking BSA/AML improvements and relief for credit unions.  Last year, a NAFCU witness previously testified on the need for BSA/AML reforms and, ahead of the markup, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler urged the committee to strengthen and improve the BSA/AML system.

The committee also established two new task forces on FinTech and Artificial Intelligence as part of the markup. NAFCU acknowledges that fintech can produce real benefits to consumers but has urged lawmakers and regulators to ensure a level playing field between fintech companies and financial institutions, from data security to consumer protection.