WASHINGTON (8/6/08)—Shared branching is great, bringing the ability to serve members from thousands of locations nationwide. But increased opportunity comes with increased responsibility, especially with Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money laundering (AML) compliance issues, says Mary-Lou Heighes, president of Compliance Plus, Lakewood, Calif. Heighes, in the August issue of Credit Union Magazine
, writes that while shared branching provides opportunities for money laundering activities that otherwise would be limited, following specific rules for shared branching will alleviate most confusion. Heighes notes that there are special BSA/AML rules for shared branching being familiar with them is the key to avoid compliance headaches. The rules address these separate areas:
* Currency transaction; * Transfers between credit unions; * Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) verifications’ *Monetary instruments; and * Suspicious activities.
Heighes also advises that credit unions participating in shared-branch systems must include this activity in their BSA/AML and OFAC risk assessments to ensure they have proper procedures in place and staff have adequate training. “By following the operating guidelines and regular due diligence in handling shared-branching transactions, credit unions can fulfill their regulatory responsibilities while providing members with access to their accounts wherever they may be,” assures Heighes. Use the resource link below to read Heighes’ complete advice.