The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is now reaching out to credit unions. That's one of the messages in FinCEN's just-released 2010 annual report.
The Treasury Department unit is in charge of administering the Bank Secrecy Act and financial intelligence gathering activities, including anti-money laundering. Its jurisdiction comprises more than 100,000 banks, credit unions, money services businesses, securities brokers, casinos, mutual funds, precious metal dealers and so on.
FinCEN has about 325 employees and uses the services of the IRS and other state and federal regulators to help with examinations. The bureau also is continuing its direct outreach, meeting with financial institution executives to help them "increase understanding of the challenges that industry faces in meeting BSA requirements and fighting financial crime."
After starting face-to-face meetings with the largest banks in 2009, the outreach has now reached community banks and credit unions, with the intent of helping them and the bureau better comply with BSA and AML "Red Flag" and other rules, its director said.
"The more that we can work together with the industry, the more it serves our joint goals," said FinCEN Director James Freis Jr.
The 96-page report includes the year's highlights, such as the record $110 million civil penalty levied against Wachovia Bank over its efforts to effectively monitor more than $420 billion in foreign financial transactions for potential money laundering.
The report also includes demographics of its own staff-for instance, it's almost evenly split between men and women-and links to FinCEN reports during the year on such topics as mortgage loan fraud and suspicious activity reports.