Financial Institutions Get Final Rules for Client Identification. (THE WATCHERS)

Article excerpt

Byline: Jennifer G. Hickey, INSIGHT

Financial Institutions Get Final Rules for Client Identification

Since the U.S. military struck Afghanistan and Iraq at least two sources of terrorist financing have been contained, but insidious forces continue to open, maintain and use bank accounts around the world. In its effort to implement money-laundering regulations included in the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, particularly those outlined in section 326, the Treasury Department now has issued final rules for financial institutions pertaining to customer identification and verification.

As outlined by Treasury, the rules require financial institutions to establish a customer-identification program (CIP) to collect data on new account holders, verify that the information is accurate, maintain records of the collected background/verification data and check the depositor's name and data against an official terrorist watch list. Before opening an account, most depositors would be required to provide their name, address, date of birth and government-issued documentation verifying their identity and status as a taxpayer. For most citizens, a Social Security number would suffice, while non-citizens would need to produce a similar number from a government-issued document.

However, the final rules also contain a provision permitting banks, securities brokers, credit unions and other included institutions to rely on "another regulated U.S. financial institution to perform any part of the financial institution's CIP."

The rules were drafted jointly by the Treasury Department and eight other government agencies, including Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Principi Defends Funding for Vets

The claims may not be as false as those made by spammers, but Veterans' Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi recently took issue with a meaty assertion circulating around the Internet, emanating from irate callers on C-SPAN and being repeated by politicians and pundits alike. In the Democratic response to the president's weekly radio address, Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings falsely said, "The Republican budget says that tax cuts for the wealthy are more important than taking care of our veterans, who fought for the freedom of our country." A month earlier, Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) likewise had contended that the GOP budget cut veterans programs by $15 billion over 10 years.

But the continued barrage of politically loaded inferences - Republicans cutting veterans' assistance in a time of war - was being watched

by Principi, who noted in a press

release that "a lie can get halfway around the world before the truth

can even find its socks. …