March 31, 2005
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the federal banking regulators issued a joint policy statement yesterday on banking institutions' obligations under the Bank Secrecy Act for money services businesses, such as check cashers and money transmitters. Many money service businesses in Maryland are losing access to banking services as a result of concerns about regulatory scrutiny, the risks presented by money services business accounts, and the costs and burdens associated with maintaining these accounts.
It is important for money service businesses to remain within the formal financial sector. Banks are not expected to serve as
de facto regulators of the money services business industry. Banks that open or maintain accounts for money services businesses should apply the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act on a risk-assessed basis, rather than deny the entire industry financial services.
Guidance on account relationships with money service businesses will be issued in the near future by FinCEN and the federal banking agencies clarifying compliance expectations for banking institutions. Concurrently, FinCEN will issue guidance to money services businesses outlining their compliance obligations. Until this guidance is issued, please do not arbitrarily terminate money services businesses.
Thank you for your support in providing banking access to this valuable financial service industry in Maryland. To read the policy statement, please go to
Financial Crimes Enforcement website.