Credit unions pose a smaller risk for hosting money laundering than large corporations, the World Council of Credit Unions said in endorsing changes to international regulations for combating that and terrorist financing.
WOCCU representatives were in Paris this week for a two-day meeting of the international Financial Action Task Force in its headquarters at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The FATF is considering revisions to its International Standards on Combatting Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation, better known as the 40 Recommendations.
WOCCU generally supports the recommendations, particularly revised customer due diligence recommendations that should apply to the relatively low-risk scenarios offered through credit unions, said Michael Edwards, the Madison, Wis.-based group’s chief counsel and vice president for advocacy and government affairs.
"We asked the FATF to consider issuing additional guidance on this issue to help reduce regulatory burdens on credit unions when there is no indication of money laundering or terrorist financing," Edwards said.
Unlike large corporations, credit unions generally know their members, making such activities harder to mask, Edwards added.
He said the FATF reacted positively to WOCCU's comments, “noting that while a simplified CDD (customer due diligence) could not uniformly apply to all credit unions on an institution-wide basis, national or provincial regulators could reduce regulatory burdens on credit unions in cases where members were likely to be low-risk.”
Edwards was joined at the conference by David Phillips, president/CEO of Credit Union Central of Canada.
“The renewed emphasis on a risk-based approach in the revised FATF standards is a welcome change," Phillips said. "This opens new opportunities for the design of anti-money laundering regulation that is appropriate for credit unions."