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WASHINGTON-Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met with a group of financial services industry representatives regarding the department’s newest initiatives to combat money laundering and electronic financial crimes. Credit union representatives, including Kraft Foods Federal Credit Union (While Plains, N.Y.) CEO Holly Herman, a CUNA board member, and XCEL Federal Credit Union CEO James Wisnieski, attended a private meeting between the secretary and about 25 other financial services executives at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. A public event announcing the initiatives in more general terms followed. CUNA and NAFCU also had several other credit union representatives in attendance. Every member of the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council, of which CUNA and NAFCU are founding members, were invited to attend. “Operation: Cornerstone” was one initiative DHS announced at the meeting, which focuses on looking at patterns of financial crimes to asses vulnerabilities, according to NAFCU Regulatory Compliance Counsel Rob Byrer, who attended the public meeting. Part of Operation: Cornerstone would include a Web site for financial institutions to input scenarios and receive likely outcomes based on previous investigations, Herman explained. One of the methods of distributing this information will be through the SHARE program, entailing semiannual meetings between the private sector and the Secret Service and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The group’s first meeting will be held in October. In addition, DHS plans to expand its Electronic Crimes Taskforce, currently operating in nine major cities, into Cleveland, Houston, Dallas, and Columbia, S.C.

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