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Banker's Toolbox, Inc., leaders in compliance solutions for financial institutions, announced the acquisition of Georgia-based MainStreet Technologies (MST). MST is an industry leader in the loan risk management space. This acquisition adds to a strong and growing portfolio of compliance-related solutions and will continue to enhance the value Banker's Toolbox brings to both their customers and the industry. (Read full press release here.)

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New HIDTAs added by Office of National Drug Control Policy

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has announced the designation of ten new areas across Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and West Virginia as High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs). This designation enables the 10 areas to receive Federal resources to further the coordination and development of drug control efforts among Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement officers, and allows local agencies to benefit from ongoing HIDTA initiatives that are working to reduce drug trafficking across the United States. Financial institutions also take HIDTAs into account in their periodic assessments of money laundering risk.The added areas include:

  • Allegheny, Beaver, and Washington Counties in Pennsylvania as part of the Ohio HIDTA
  • Atlantic County in New Jersey as part of the Liberty Mid-Atlantic HIDTA
  • Butler County in Ohio as part of the Ohio HIDTA
  • Charleston County in South Carolina and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina as part of the Atlanta/Carolinas HIDTA
  • Mineral County in West Virginia as part of the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA
  • Montgomery and Powell Counties in Kentucky as part of the Appalachia HIDTA


OFAC targets Maduro's inner circle and corruption proceeds

The Office of Foreign Assets Control has designated four members of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s inner circle, including First Lady and former Attorney General and President of the National Assembly Cilia Adela Flores de Maduro. OFAC also targeted a network supporting a key front man for designated President of Venezuela’s National Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello Rondon, and identified as blocked property a $20 million U.S.-based private jet as belonging to Cabello’s front man. Identity information on the designated individuals, entities and the plane can be found in our OFAC Update.


Saudi Arabia record in fighting terrorist financing

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF) jointly conducted an assessment of Saudi Arabia’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) system. The assessment is a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of a country’s AML/CFT system and its level of compliance with the FATF Recommendations. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is achieving good results in fighting terrorist financing, but needs to focus more on pursuing larger scale money launderers and confiscating their assets.


New employer tax credit for paid family and medical leave

Treasury announced yesterday that, as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, eligible employers who provide paid family and medical leave to their employees during tax years 2018 and 2019 may qualify for a new business credit. Retroactive credit may also be available to employers for setting up or updating a leave policy. Eligible employers who set up qualifying paid family leave programs or amend existing ones may also be eligible to claim the employer credit for paid family and medical leave, retroactive to the beginning of the employer’s taxable year, for qualifying leave already provided. Guidance was also released clarifying how to calculate the credit, including the application of special rules and limitations. Generally, only paid family and medical leave provided to employees whose prior-year compensation was $72,000 or less qualify for the credit.


Reminder of Blocked Property Report

Treasury has posted a reminder that persons holding property blocked pursuant to OFAC sanctions regulations are required to provide OFAC with a comprehensive report on all blocked property held as of June 30 of the current year by September 30. The annual reports must be filed using the Annual Report of Blocked Property (ARBP) form. For more information see OFAC’s Guidance on Filing the ARBP.


FinCEN advisory on FATF update

FinCEN Advisory FIN-2018-A004 responds to FATF's updated list of jurisdictions with strategic anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CFT) deficiencies. Iraq and Vanuatu have been removed from the list and are no longer subject to the FATF’s monitoring process under their ongoing global AML/CFT compliance processes. Pakistan has been added to the list and will undergo monitoring by FATF’s International Co-operation Review Group based on the specific AML/CFT deficiencies highlighted by the FATF.

FATF also issued a "public statement" on North Korea and Iran, indicating that those countries have strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes and calling upon FATF members and urging all jurisdictions to (1) impose countermeasures and/or (2) apply enhanced due diligence proportionate to the risks arising from North Korea and Iran.


Bureau plans Atlanta office

The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection has announced plans to relocate its Southeast regional office from Washington, D.C. to Atlanta, Georgia. It already has regional offices in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco that are used mostly by supervision staff but also house enforcement attorneys and other Bureau personnel. Since the Bureau’s inception, the southeast regional team has been based temporarily at the Bureau’s D.C. headquarters. The move is anticipated to take place in late 2019.


Board requests comments on amendments to Regs H and K

The Federal Reserve Board has requested public comment on a proposal to amend Regulation H and Regulation K to repeal provisions that incorporate the Secure and Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act (S.A.F.E. Act). The proposal reflects the transfer of the Board's rulemaking authority for the S.A.F.E. Act to the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Entities that were subject to the Board's rules are now subject to the Bureau's rules. Comments on the proposal will be accepted for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register.

UPDATE: The proposal was published at 83 FR 48402 on 9/25/2018. Comments are due by 11/26/18.


Swap Margin Rule amendments approved

Five federal agencies (the Fed, FDIC, FHFA, OCC, and the Farm Credit Administration) have approved final amendments to swap margin requirements to conform with recent rule changes that impose new restrictions on certain qualified financial contracts of systemically important banking organizations (QFC Rules). Under the amendments, which will become effective 30 days after Federal Register publication, legacy swaps entered into before the applicable compliance date will not become subject to the margin requirements if they are amended solely to comply with the requirements of the QFC Rules.


OFAC extends expiration date of General Licenses

OFAC has announced its extension of the expiration date of certain general licenses related to EN+ Group plc and United Company RUSAL PLC. General Licenses 13D, 14A, and 16A have been amended to extend their expiration dates from October 23 to November 12, 2018, for transactions related to the companies and their subsidiaries.


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