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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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OCC to hold risk workshops in Florida

The OCC has announced it will host two workshops at the Holiday Inn Fort Walton Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Florida, April 24-25, for directors of national community banks and federal savings associations supervised by the OCC.

  • The Risk Governance workshop on April 24 combines lectures, discussion, and exercises to provide practical information for directors to effectively measure and manage risks.
  • The Credit Risk workshop on April 25 focuses on credit risk within the loan portfolio, such as identifying trends and recognizing problems. The workshop also covers the roles of the board and management, how to stay informed of changes in credit risk, and how to effect change.


Treasury sanctions Russian cyber actors

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has designated five entities and 19 individuals under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as well as Executive Order (E.O.) 13694, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” as amended, and codified pursuant to CAATSA.

OFAC's action counters Russia’s continuing destabilizing activities, ranging from interference in the 2016 U.S. election to conducting destructive cyber-attacks, including the NotPetya attack, a cyber-attack attributed to the Russian military on February 15, 2018, in statements released by the White House and the British Government. Treasury reports this cyber-attack was the most destructive and costly cyber-attack in history. The attack resulted in billions of dollars in damage across Europe, Asia, and the United States, and significantly disrupted global shipping, trade, and the production of medicines. Additionally, several hospitals in the United States were unable to create electronic records for more than a week.

As a result of OFAC's action, all property and interests in property of the designated persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. For identification of the sanctioned individuals and entities, see our OFAC Update.


Fed issues C&D to Chinese bank

The Federal Reserve Board has issued a Consent Order to Cease and Desist to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Ltd., Beijing, People's Republic of China, and to the New York City branch of that bank following the most recent examination of the New York Branch by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which identified significant deficiencies in the Branch's risk management and compliance with applicable federal and state laws, rules, and regulations relating to anti-money laundering compliance, including the Bank Secrecy Act and rules issued under the Bank Secrecy Act, and with the requirements of Federal Reserve Board Regulation K to report suspicious activity and to maintain an adequate BSA/AML compliance program.

The Order directs the Bank and Branch to make improvements in the areas of their:

  • Corporate governance and management oversight
  • BSA/AML compliance program
  • Customer due diligence
  • Suspicious activity monitoring and reporting

The Bank and Branch were also ordered to:

  • Arrange for a look-back transaction review by an independent third party covering the Branch's U.S. dollar clearing transaction activity from July 1 through December 31, 2016, (and other periods, if later required) to determine whether suspicious activity was properly identified and reported
  • Submit a written plan for OFAC regulation compliance
  • Submit a revised internal audit program


Money Now Funding defendants settle with FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has announced that Michael Abdelmesseh and KMA Merchant Services LLC have agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission lawsuit for laundering credit card charges for Money Now Funding (MNF), a business opportunity scheme that falsely promised consumers they would make thousands of dollars helping small businesses get loans.

In 2015, the MNF defendants were banned from selling business or work-at-home opportunities under court orders obtained by the FTC. In 2017, the FTC charged Abdelmesseh and KMA with helping MNF access credit card networks via fraudulent applications in the names of more than 40 fictitious MNF companies, in violation of the FTC Act and the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR). A settlement order bans Abdelmesseh and KMA from payment processing or acting as an Independent Sales Organization or sales agent, and they are prohibited from engaging in credit card laundering. The order also imposes a judgment of more than $1.3 million that will be suspended due to the settling defendants’ inability to pay. The full judgment will become due immediately if they are found to have misrepresented their financial condition.


OFAC designates two terrorists

OFAC has identified two individuals as specially designated global terrorists. For identification details, see our OFAC Update.


FATF questionnaire on correspondent banking relationships

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures, the Financial Action Task Force and the Financial Stability Board have announced the Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire recently published by the Wolfsberg Group, as one of the industry initiatives that will help to address the decline in the number of correspondent banking relationships by facilitating due diligence processes. The questionnaire aims to standardize the collection of information that correspondent banks ask from other banks when opening and maintaining these relationships, such as their ownership, the products and services they offer and their programs for Anti-Money Laundering, Countering the Financing of Terrorism as well as compliance with sanction regimes and Anti-Bribery and Corruption programs. The questionnaire is also part of a cooperative effort by the public and private sectors to recognize Know-Your-Customer utilities as an effective and efficient tool to support due diligence processes.


OFAC targets Mexican heroin traffickers

Yesterday, the Office of Foreign Assets Control increased its pressure on major Mexican heroin traffickers by targeting individuals and companies close to the new leadership of the Ruelas Torres drug trafficking organization (Ruelas Torres DTO). Treasury imposed additional sanctions on eight Mexican individuals and eight Mexican companies linked to the Sinaloa-based criminal organization, which has been led by Joel Efren Ruelas Avila since the 2017 death of his father Jose Luis Ruelas Torres. OFAC acted under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). As a result of Tuesday's action, U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions or otherwise dealing with these individuals and companies, and any assets they may have under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen. For identification information on the individuals and entities OFAC designated on Tuesday, and on three other Kingpin Act listings that OFAC updated, see BankersOnline's OFAC Update.

Penalties for violations of the Kingpin Act range from civil penalties of up to $1,437,153 per violation to more severe criminal penalties. Criminal penalties for corporate officers may include up to 30 years in prison and fines of up to $5 million. Criminal fines for corporations may reach $10 million. Other individuals could face up to 10 years in prison and fines pursuant to the Title 18 of the United States Code for criminal violations of the Kingpin Act.


COPPA twitter chat scheduled by FTC

The FTC will host a Twitter chat on March 6, 2018, to discuss the 20th anniversary of the passage of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen will discuss the FTC's work to enforce COPPA and ensure the FTC's rule implementing the law stays in step with evolving technologies and data collection practices.


FDIC to post Q&As for consumers on banking topics

In observance of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), March 4-10, 2018, the FDIC will post a new question and answer (Q&A) on a different banking topic each weekday on its National Consumer Protection Week page. The five Q&As will be on the topics of mobile banking, credit and debit card security precautions, safe deposit boxes, credit reports, and debt collectors, along with other consumer information, and will be accessible for reference year-round.


FDIC Consumer News published

The FDIC has published the Winter 2018 issue of the FDIC Consumer News, featuring tips on protecting assets. The issued includes information regarding:

  • Five things to know about safe deposit boxes and home safes for protecting valuables.
  • Criminals who place hidden recording devices at or near automated teller machines (ATMs) and retailer checkout registers.
  • How new standards for credit reporting may help consumers improve credit scores and qualify for loans under more favorable terms.


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