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The OCC has published a new booklet titled: MONEY LAUNDERING: A Banker's Guide to Avoiding Problems.First issued in December of 1989, this booklet is now in its second edition, dated June, 1993. It had to be rewritten, OCC says, because of the increase of activity of money laundering, the growing sophistication of money launderers, the expanding international response to money laundering, and recent changes to the law.
We found this new edition to be very helpful with basic questions about the Bank Secrecy Act and reporting requirements. For instance the Annunzio-Wylie Anti-Money Laundering Act is explained in brief, but clear language-including paragraphs on safe harbor and non-disclosure.
The section on the filing of CTRs and Criminal Referral Forms says, "When a bank employee reasonably suspects a person or entity is using the bank to engage in money laundering or currency structuring, a Criminal Referral Form (CRF) must be filed regardless of the transaction size."
It goes on to say that, "Sizable cash transactions, however, alone are not a reasonable basis for concluding that money laundering or currency structuring has occurred. That determination should be based on the size, frequency and nature of such transactions and the bank's experience with the individual associated with the transaction...A banker who knows his customer is more likely to recognize what activities are outside a customer's profile to determine when a CRF should be filed."
Several pages list activities that bankers can recognize that might indicate money laundering-for instance a new customer requesting to be put on the exempt list, or an account to which money orders carrying unusual symbols or stamps are deposited by mail, or an employee whose lavish lifestyle cannot be supported by his or her salary.
FinCEN is explained, as is the Bank Secrecy Act Bulletin Board System.
The booklet is free, and though you can only get 25 copies, you should get them, and duplicate as many as needed to put it into the hands of every one of your employees. (Document the fact that you do that for your examiner!)
To order, contact OCC Publications and Ordering Information, Communication Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Washington, DC 20219, or call them at (202) 874-4700.
Copyright © 1993 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 4, No. 3, 8/93
First published on 08/01/1993