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TORONTO, Canada – Canadian credit unions are now subject to new money laundering procedures issued by FINTRAC (Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada). FINTRAC, is a specialized government agency that collects, analyzes and discloses financial information. The agency was created in July 2000 well before September 11, 2001. Its Web site says it is “an integral part of our country’s engagement in the global fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.” The original FINTRAC regulations established both record keeping and client identification requirements for financial services providers, including credit unions. The new regulations, which are more of a tweaking of the old ones, went into effect in late 2003. Some of the new rules concern which parts of forms to fill out. The regulations cover large cash transactions which are CND$10,000 (US$7,800)or over. Under the new system credit unions no longer need to report names of board of directors. The agency also states that it wishes to ensure “that appropriate safeguards are put in place to protect the privacy of persons with respect to personal information about themselves.” Only foreign electronic funds transfer must be reported. The regulations have been extended to cover foreign exchange dealers or money services businesses. Canada has 607 credit unions as well as a type of co-operative institutions called caisses populaires which must comply with the FINTRAC regulations also. Their combined assets total CND$70.5 billion (US$55.5 billion). Over 4.6 million Canadians belong to a credit union.

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