Thought of the Day: What if no one was watching?

By Mary Davis Meile

A gatekeeper position is critical and can be compared to a watchman on the wall. During ancient times the watchman would sit on a tower overlooking the entire city, ready to alert of any impending danger. Security was not complete without watchmen in their places, shouting, or reporting what they saw that was out of the ordinary. If they did not stay awake and sound the alarm it would be devastating for an entire city and nation.

I suspect some BSA professionals may find this to be a lonely and discouraging work at times. You may find yourself growing tired with all the regulatory challenges and not putting in as much effort as you use to. Some may have given up and want to leave the profession, and others have grown weary when warnings are rejected, or they do not see results. Many ask themselves and their peers, is this work making a difference, is there tangible value to what we are doing? The answer is a resounding yes!

The main question that I want you to ponder today is what if the AML monitoring went away and was no longer a regulatory requirement to report unusual or suspect activity? What if no one in the world was required to look, watch and report? There would be an immediate negative impact with an acceleration of criminal activity or social injustices. Crimes against humanity would run rampant without any hope of justice, support or protection. The criminal would go under the radar screen without law enforcement being alerted. In short, it would be devastating in all areas of society. Can you see how it all fits together? The watching and reporting role is critical to the stability of our nation and others. The results are global, and they impact individual nations, cities, communities, households, and individuals. I encourage you to continue to do a good work. Be the eyes and ears on the wall of your workplace. Remain diligent. You do make a difference!

A quote from the late President John F. Kennedy that still holds true today. The excerpt comes from a document titled, “Remarks Prepared for Delivery at the Trade Mart in Dallas, TX, November 22, 1963.” The speech went undelivered as he was assassinated that very day.

We in this country, in this generation, are–by destiny rather than choice–the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.” That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.”

We are here to equip you with the resources to get the job done. Explore our self-paced Certified Bank Secrecy Officer (CBO) courses and let us know if we can help.

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