U.S. to Allow Small Banks to Pool Anti-Money-Laundering Resources

Community banks and credit unions can share certain resources for anti-money-laundering compliance purposes, helping them address the risk of financial crime while keeping down costs, federal regulators said Wednesday.

joint statement issued by the Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Treasury Department, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration is the result of a working group formed by the agencies aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the country’s anti-money-laundering legal regime.

Sigal Mandelker, the Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said the statement was part of a broader effort to work with regulatory partners to strengthen money-laundering defenses across the U.S. financial system.

Banks may benefit from using shared resources to manage their obligations more efficiently and effectively, but they should approach the establishment of such an arrangement as it would other business decisions, the joint statement said.

The statement highlighted the benefits of collaborative arrangements that pool resources, such as staff or technology. The statement explains how these arrangements are most suitable for banks with a community focus, less complex operations and a lower-risk profile.

Each bank in such an arrangement, however, is responsible for ensuring its own compliance.

“Sharing resources in no way relieves a bank of this responsibility,” the statement said. “Nothing in this interagency statement alters a bank’s existing legal and regulatory requirements.”