Fincen's Wire Transfer Plan Draws Fire

By Hopkins, Cheyenne | American Banker, September 28, 2010 | Go to article overview

Fincen's Wire Transfer Plan Draws Fire


Hopkins, Cheyenne, American Banker


Byline: Cheyenne Hopkins

WASHINGTON - Industry representatives largely panned news of a Financial Crimes Enforcement Network plan to require banks to report all international wire transfers to the government, citing concerns about the usefulness of the data and privacy issues.

The proposal, which was released Monday, would target approximately 300 banks and 700 money services businesses that directly send or receive transfers to and from overseas. But industry representatives were skeptical such reporting, which would entail 500 million to 700 million new reports a year, would lead to any benefit.

"One of the concerns that has been raised since the statute has been processed in 2004 is: can Fincen process this data and what is that going to cost and what are you going to do about the privacy concerns?" said Rob Rowe, vice president and senior counsel for financial institutions policy and regulatory affairs for the American Bankers Association.

The plan would treat banks and MSBs differently. Under the proposal, banks would have to report all international wire transfers, regardless of the amount, while MSBs would only have to track transfers worth $1,000 or more.

The proposal would also require banks to create an annual report detailing the account number and account holder's tax identification number for all accounts used to originate or receive international wire transfers.

The industry has 90 days to comment and Fincen estimates the proposal would not go into effect until 2012 to allow for technology compliance. But anti-laundering experts were already attacking the proposal, saying Fincen is making a mistake.

Peter Djinis, a lawyer and former Fincen official, said this is simply "overregulating" and Fincen has not made its case that the information is useful. …

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