WASHINGTON-The House Financial Services Committee was gearing up to mark up the “Financial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2001″ (H.R. 3004) just after deadline. A similar bill was already approved unanimously by the Senate Banking Committee late last week and added to broader anti-terrorism legislation. The legislation is aimed at increasing the ability of law enforcement agencies in money laundering investigations, but should have little consequence on credit unions’ and other financial institutions’ reporting requirements. Action of the full House and Senate is expected this week, along with President George W. Bush’s signature. Though great enthusiasm exists in the House and Senate for passage of both money laundering and anti-terrorism legislation following the September 11 attacks, a sticking point still exists. The Republican-controlled House and co-sponsor Financial Services Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) oppose combining the two bills as the Senate has already done. When asked whether Oxley had cited logistics or simply not wanting the packages combined, CUNA Vice President and Senior Legislative Counsel Gary Kohn said it was likely “A combination of both. It is unclear why they don’t want it in there, perhaps that it might slow the package down.” Still, Kohn was hopeful in saying, “It still could become part of a conference later on down the road.” NAFCU Senior Vice President and General Counsel Bill Donovan explained that the bill was obviously a high priority piece of legislation following reports that terrorists involved in the attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania had used money laundering methods to fund their cause. “I certainly expect it to [go through]. I wouldn’t expect thereto be any intentional delay on anyone’s part,” he explained. Because, the credit union trade groups do not see the bill as adding potential onerous regulatory burden, CUNA and NAFCU are supporting the measure and continue to monitor the situation. If the money laundering legislation passes as expected, it will probably only have a marginal effect on credit unions’ reporting requirements, according to trade group officials. “We are trying to be vigilant to that. The good news in that is that, I think, Treasury is vigilant about that.” CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn said. She added that it could be easy to overreact and develop very single-minded policies, but she does not foresee a problem there. “Whatever is crafted is going to work for a later time and not just for the present,” Dunn said. “We support the federal government in its response to money laundering as it relates to terrorism,” NAFCU Director of Legislative and Political Affairs Charlie Frohman said. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is attempting to provide credit unions and other financial institutions some compliance relief while increasing the efficiency of the reporting system. According to FinCEN Chief of Depository Institutions and Securities Program David Gilles, under the current guidelines, a Currency Transaction Report (CTR) must be filed for all transactions totaling more than $10,000 in one day with exemptions for large businesses that perform several large transactions each day. However, many institutions are unaware or do not take advantage of the exemption and end up filing several reports for stores like Wal-Mart, he said. -email@example.com
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