John Zasada, Compliance Consulting Director, Financial Institutions Group

As expected, on June 30, 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued the first government-wide priorities for anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) policy (priorities). The priorities are being issued because they are required pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) amendments contained in the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act). The following are the eight priorities and they are not listed in any particular order:

  1. Corruption
  2. Cybercrime, including relevant cybersecurity and virtual currency considerations
  3. Foreign and domestic terrorist financing
  4. Fraud
  5. Transnational criminal organization activity
  6. Drug trafficking organization activity
  7. Human trafficking and human smuggling
  8. Proliferation financing

At a later date, FinCEN will issue regulations that will specify how financial institutions should incorporate these priorities into their risk-based AML programs.

On June 30, 2021, FinCEN also issued a two-page interagency statement on the issuance of the priorities. The statement advises financial institutions the publication of the AML/CFT priorities does not create an immediate change to BSA requirements or supervisory expectations. The AML Act requires that, within 180 days of the establishment of the AML/CFT priorities, FinCEN will issue regulations related to the priorities. Although not required by the AML Act, the agencies do plan to revise their BSA regulations, as necessary, to address how they will be incorporated into financial institution’s BSA requirements. Financial institutions are not required to incorporate the AML/CFT priorities into their risk-based BSA compliance programs until the effective date of the final revised regulations. However, financial institutions may wish to start considering how they will incorporate these items into their risk-based BSA compliance programs.

To learn more about AML and BSA requirements, contact Doeren Mayhew’s regulatory compliance specialists.