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Top Story Security Related

10/27/2021

Treasury sanctions Libyan national

The Treasury Department on Tuesday announced that OFAC, acting in coordination with an action by the United Nations Security Council, sanctioned Libyan national Osama Al Kuni Ibrahim (Al Kuni), who is responsible for serious human rights abuse against migrants in Libya. Al Kuni is designated pursuant to Executive Order 13726 for being involved in, or having been involved in, the targeting of civilians through the commission of acts of violence, abduction, forced displacement, or attacks on schools, hospitals, religious sites, or locations where civilians are seeking refuge, or through conduct that would constitute a serious abuse or violation of human rights or a violation of international humanitarian law.

As a result of yesterday’s action, all property and interests in property of the designated individual that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.

Al Kuni was designated by the UN Security Council’s Libya Sanctions Committee. Pursuant to that designation, all UN Member States are obligated to impose an asset freeze and travel ban.

For more information on Al Kuni, see the BankersOnline October 26, 2021, OFAC Update.

10/27/2021

FATF lists jurisdictions with AML/CTF/CPF deficiencies

FinCEN has issued a press release to inform U.S. financial institutions that the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body that establishes international standards to combat money laundering, counter the financing of terrorism, and combat weapons of mass destruction proliferation financing (AML/CFT/CPF), has issued public statements updating its lists of jurisdictions with strategic AML/CFT/CPF deficiencies following its plenary meeting this month. U.S. financial institutions should consider the FATF’s stance toward these jurisdictions when reviewing their obligations and risk-based policies, procedures, and practices.

On October 21, 2021, the FATF added Jordan, Mali, and Turkey to its list of the Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring and removed Botswana and Mauritius.

The FATF’s list of High-Risk Jurisdictions Subject to a Call for Action remains the same with Iran and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea still subject to the FATF’s countermeasures.

FATF issued two statements:

  1. Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring, which publicly identifies jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT/CPF regimes that have committed to, or are actively working with, the FATF to address those deficiencies in accordance with an agreed upon timeline
  2. High-Risk Jurisdictions Subject to a Call for Action, which publicly identifies jurisdictions with significant strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT/CPF regimes and calls on all FATF members to apply enhanced due diligence, and, in the most serious cases, apply counter-measures to protect the international financial system from the money laundering, terrorist financing, and proliferation financing risks emanating from the identified countries.

10/26/2021

$2.8 B in September Emergency Rental Assistance

The Department of the Treasury has reported State and local governments distributed nearly $2.8 billion from Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance program to more than 510,000 households in September, up from $459,000 in August. Through September 30, state, local, and tribal governments have made over two million payments to households and distributed over $10 billion. The September data provide the first look into Emergency Rental Assistance spending since the Supreme Court overturned the Centers for Disease Control’s national eviction moratorium at the end of August.

10/22/2021

Tech companies ordered to provide info to CFPB

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has issued a series of orders to collect information on the business practices of large technology companies operating payments systems in the United States. The information will help the CFPB better understand how these firms use personal payments data and manage data access to users so the Bureau can ensure adequate consumer protection.

The orders were issued pursuant to Section 1022(c)(4) of the Consumer Financial Protection Act. The CFPB has the statutory authority to order participants in the payments market to turn over information to help the Bureau monitor for risks to consumers and to publish aggregated findings that are in the public interest. The CFPB’s work is one of many efforts within the Federal Reserve System to make payments safer, faster, and more competitive. The initial orders were sent to Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, PayPal, and Square. The Bureau will also be studying the payment system practices of Chinese tech giants, including Alipay and WeChat Pay.

10/22/2021

OCC September enforcement actions released

The OCC has released a list of new enforcement actions taken in the month of September. Included were:

  • The previously announced cease-and-desist order against MUFG Union Bank, National Association, of San Francisco
  • A civil money penalty of $2.5 million was assessed against Washington Federal Bank, National Association, Seattle, for BSA/AML compliance failures
  • A consent order of prohibition and for a $140,000 civil money penalty was issued to Jared P. Schultz, former senior vice president, First National Bank in Fairfield, Fairfield, Iowa, upon a finding that he failed to comply with the bank's loan policies; authorized loans from which he personally benefited, in violation of Regulation O; and otherwise engaged in violations of policy and law, reckless unsafe or unsound practices, and breaches of his fiduciary duty to the bank
  • A consent order for a $16,000 civil money penalty and to cease-and-desist was issued to Patrick Hurley, former president, CEO and director of First National Bank in Fairfield, Fairfield, Iowa, upon a finding that he failed to adequately supervise Jared P. Schultz; failed to adequately review the banks problem loan and exception reports to detect unsafe or unsound lending activities that Schultz engaged in; and failed to ensure the bank's internal controls were sufficient

    10/22/2021

    MLA database users must keep accounts active

    The Department of Defense Military Lending Act website has announced a planned systems upgrade scheduled for January 20, 2022. Under new version 5.11, all users will be required to log into their accounts at least once every 35 days to maintain active-account status. After 35 days of account inactivity, accounts will be disabled and users will need to create a new account.

    10/20/2021

    FinCEN exceptive relief for casinos with online gambling

    FinCEN announced on Tuesday it has granted limited exceptive relief in Ruling FIN-2021-R001 to casinos from certain customer identity verification requirements in the context of online gaming. Specifically, under the terms of this relief, a casino may utilize suitable non-documentary methods to verify the identity of online customers. The suitability or non-suitability of any particular method should be evaluated based on risk. This exceptive relief is effective as of October 19, 2021.

    10/19/2021

    FTC annual report on protection of older adults

    The Federal Trade Commission has issued its latest report to Congress on protecting older adults, which highlights updated findings from the Commission’s fraud reports showing trends in how older adults report being affected by fraud. It also includes information on the FTC’s efforts to protect older consumers through law enforcement actions and outreach and education programs. This year’s report calls particular attention to the Commission’s work to combat scams related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    10/18/2021

    OCC releases FY2022 Bank Supervision Plan

    The OCC has released its bank supervision operating plan for fiscal year 2022.The plan provides the foundation for policy initiatives and for supervisory strategies as applied to individual national banks, federal savings associations, federal branches, federal agencies, and technology service providers. OCC staff members use this plan to guide their supervisory priorities, planning, and resource allocations.

    Supervisory strategies for FY 2022 will focus on—

    • strategic and operational planning to ensure banks maintain stable financial positions
    • credit risk management, allowances for loan and lease losses, and allowances for credit losses
    • cybersecurity and operational resilience
    • oversight of third parties and related concentrations
    • Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) compliance management
    • consumer compliance management systems and fair lending risk
    • Community Reinvestment Act performance
    • the impact of a low-rate environment and the transition to alternative reference rates given the cessation of LIBOR
    • payment systems products and services
    • fintech partnerships for potential cryptocurrency-related activities and other services
    • climate change risk management

    10/18/2021

    Treasury continues campaign against ransomware

    The Treasury Department on Friday announced that, building on OFAC's earlier designation of a virtual currency exchange for facilitating transactions for ransomware actors, additional steps have been taken to help the virtual currency industry prevent exploitation by sanctioned persons and other illicit actors. New industry-specific guidance outlines sanctions compliance best practices tailored to the unique risks posed in this dynamic space, while new data from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) shows the increasing threat ransomware posed to the U.S financial sector, businesses, and the public during the first half of 2021.

    Treasury’s actions underscore the need for a collaborative approach to counter ransomware attacks, including public-private partnerships and close relationships with international partners. The private sector plays a key role by implementing appropriate sanctions and anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) controls to prevent sanctioned persons and other illicit actors from exploiting virtual currencies and undermining U.S. foreign policy and national security interests.

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