October 09, 2020

NAFCU, trades urge BSA/AML/beneficial ownership reforms be included in NDAA

AMLNAFCU joined with dozens of other organizations this week to urge leaders of the Senate and House Armed Services Committees to include Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/anti-money laundering (AML) and beneficial ownership reforms in the fiscal year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The House-passed NDAA included language from the bipartisan COUNTER Act and Corporate Transparency Act – which includes BSA/AML reforms and creates a beneficial ownership registry. However, efforts from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, to add an amendment for BSA/AML reforms to the Senate-passed version were not successful.

The letter sent Wednesday by the 30 groups – representing financial services, law enforcement, small businesses, and more – specifically called for the inclusion of the Corporate Transparency Act, which the groups argue "offers a bipartisan pathway to modernizing the nation's anti-money laundering laws and closing loopholes that allow the dangerous manipulation of our financial system."

The letter noted that AML laws haven't been updated in almost 20 years and detailed how each of the groups are impacted by these outdated laws.

"All of the bad actors we work to hold accountable have adopted increasingly sophisticated methods for laundering money—yet every one of them relies on secrecy as a common feature of their schemes," the groups wrote.

The House and Senate are expected to soon convene a conference committee to hash out differences between the two chambers' bills.

In addition to seeking BSA/AML reforms, NAFCU continues to fight for the rejection of a bank-sought provision – included in the Senate's NDAA but not the House's – that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to treat banks, including big ones like Wells Fargo and Bank of America, the same as credit unions when it comes to nominal leases on military bases.

This provision was also included in the Senate's NDAA last year, but NAFCU successfully kept it from being included in a final version of the bill that resulted from the conference committee.

Last month, more than 50 bipartisan representatives backed NAFCU's request to reject this nominal lease provision in a sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate and House Armed Services Committee.

Credit unions can join NAFCU's advocacy efforts on these issues using the association's Grassroots Action Center. Stay tuned to NAFCU Today for the latest status updates on the FY2021 NDAA.