ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Garden Savings Federal Credit Union has agreed to a Cease & Desist Order from NCUA, without admitting or denying fault, for Bank Secrecy Act noncompliance, the regulatory item credit unions often cite as the most onerous.

The administrative order, unanimously approved by the NCUA Board July 3, states that the credit union has agreed to contract an outside audit firm within 60 days of the order, signed June 25 by most of the credit union’s board, to correct deficiencies; complete a risk assessment; keep a list of high and moderate risk members; file all missing Currency Transaction Reports and Suspicious Activity Reports as well as the back CTRs for improperly exempted businesses within 30 days; establish written high-risk member policies and procedures within 90 days; hire a “competent, full-time” BSA compliance officer and approve a job description for the BSA officer within 90 days; ensure necessary training of the BSA officer; obtain and research all FinCEN 314(a) information sharing within 14 days of the request; establish a training program within 90 days; implement and maintain adequate internal controls; and ensure Office of

Foreign Assets Control compliance, among many other requirements.

Garden Savings CEO Louis Vetere declined to comment beyond the credit union’s official statement. “We have agreed to the issuance of a Consent Cease and Desist Order by NCUA, without admitting that any grounds exist for its issuance,” it read. “This Order is the result of various deficiencies in our Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Compliance programs that were brought to light during NCUA’s review of our 2006 operations. We intend to fully comply with the Order and have taken proactive steps to correct the deficiencies that were found. We have already made several changes to our operations and today we are over 80% compliant with the directives in the Order. We are continuing to correct the remaining

deficiencies in our operations and will be 100% compliant

with each of the directives in the order within the time-

frames specified.”

Just last year the former CEO of Garden Savings, Douglas Wild, agreed to a prohibition order without admitting or denying fault to avoid litigation.

Garden Savings Federal Credit Union was chartered in 1968 and now serves approximately 15,500 members in Parsippany, Whippany and Newark, New Jersey. Credit union service has continued uninterrupted and member funds are federally insured up to at least $100,000 by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.

–scooke@cutimes.com