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Q. What automated clearinghouse transactions should a bank scan in order to be compliant with the Treasury's Office of Foreign Asset Control Act (OFAC)?

A. The bank must scan all incoming and outgoing transacstions. Banks must reject all business transactions associated with every name on OFAC's master list of "Specialty Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons." The list is up-dated periodically by Treasury, and can be found on the Treasury web site at, or call OFAC at 1-800-540-6322. For a detailed explanation, it is recommended that you see ABA Bank Compliance magazine, March/April 1996, "Specially Designated Who?" and November/December 1998 issue, "OFAC Compliance."

It should also be pointed out that OFAC compliance is not limited to commercial banking. Like money laundering, the trust area and private banking are also subject to OFAC's compliance requirement.

Also, be aware that in the wake of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the Bush Administration is developing additional responses that may involve the banking industry.


Q. What rules must a bank follow for bank holiday closings and banking hours?

A. This question comes up frequently and the answer is pretty straightforward: There are no federal laws or regulations that require any financial institution except a national bank to remain open on any specific days. Regarding national banks, 12 CFR 7.3000 gives the following specifics (some of which will be of added interest because of the recent terrorist attacks):

"(a) Bank hours. A national bank's board of directors should review its banking hours, and, independently of any other bank, take appropriate action to establish a schedule of banking hours.

"(b) Emergency closings. Pursuant to 22 U.S.C. 95(b)(1), the Comptroller of the Currency (Comptroller), a state, or a legally authorized state official may declare a day a legal holiday if emergency conditions exist. That day is a legal holiday for national banks or their offices in the affected geographic area (i.e., throughout the country, in a state, or in part of a state). Emergency conditions include natural disasters and civil and municipal emergencies (e.g., severe flooding, or a power emergency declared by a local power company or government requesting that businesses in the affected area close). The Comptroller issues a proclamation authorizing the emergency closing in accordance with 12 U.S.C. 95 at the time of the emergency condition, or soon thereafter. When the Comptroller, a state, or a legally authorized state official declares a day to be a legal holiday due to emergency conditions, a national bank may choose to remain open or to close any of its banking offices in the affected geographic are a. (Comptroller John Hawke in fact made such a proclamation on Sept. 11, authorizing national banks "at their discretion, to close offices affected by the emergency.")

"(c) Ceremonial closings. A state or a legally authorized state official may declare a day a legal holiday for ceremonial reasons. When a state or a legally authorized State official declares a day to be a legal holiday for ceremonial reasons, a national bank may choose to remain open or to close.

"(d) Liability. A national bank should assure that all liabilities or other obligations under the applicable law due to the bank's closing are satisfied."

So, except as outlined above for national banks, financial institutions can set their hours of operation and days of closings as its board of directors deems appropriate, as long as the institution is not in violation of any state laws. 12 U.S.C. 95 should be reviewed by state chartered banks as well as state laws where the banks are situated.


Q. In which regulation does it say not to hire a convicted felan?

A. 19 of the Federal Reserve Act, found at (http://www. …