Danske Bank Pays $2.4B on AML Failures


Danske Bank, the Danish bank now infamous for allowing one of the largest money laundering schemes in history during the 2000s and 2010s, pleaded guilty to fraud charges in U.S. federal court today and agreed to pay more than $2 billion in criminal penalties and other monetary fines. Danske will pay $2.06 billion in criminal…

Read More

Robinhood Crypto Compliance Meltdown


New York financial regulators have issued a scorcher of an enforcement action against Robinhood, hitting the online trading app with a $30 million for allowing a weak compliance program that, in turn, allowed a wide range of other compliance failures. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) announced the sanction on Tuesday. The precise…

Read More

USAA, Part II: Staffing Levels and SARs


Today I want to circle back to that civil settlement that banking regulators struck with USAA last month, where they fined USAA a total of $140 million and imposed a raft of compliance program improvements that USAA needs to make double-quick. What do those demands tell us about how corporate compliance programs should operate? First,…

Read More

FinCEN Offers Red Flags on Russia

Today we return to risks arising from the Ukraine crisis, because FinCEN has just published an alert warning financial firms to watch for transactions that might actually be Russians trying to avoid Western sanctions — including a list of red flags that AML compliance functions should keep on the radar screen. FinCEN published the 10-page…

Read More

Financial Crime Compliance Costs Keep Going Up


The costs of financial crime compliance jumped sharply in 2020, as Covid-19 complications caused a host of challenges and forced lots of compliance officers to spend more money on labor, according to a new report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions. The report surveyed more than 1,000 compliance officers at financial firms around the world, and provides…

Read More

Capital One Whacked on AML Failures

Talk about mistakes that come back to haunt you: Capital One just agreed to pay a $390 million penalty for anti-money laundering compliance failures in a check-cashing unit the bank hasn’t even owned for seven years.  The settlement was announced by FinCEN last Friday. The 22-page statement of facts is a tale of poor risk…

Read More

AML Reform and Whistleblowers


I try to be as cynical as possible about Congress, but this week may be one of those rare times when lawmakers actually do something intelligent. They’re poised to overhaul the nation’s anti-money laundering laws in a dramatic way, with a potentially huge gift to compliance officers to boot. That overhaul is the Anti-Money Laundering…

Read More

Gasp! A Compliance Conference!


Compliance officers, we need to talk. Something amazing just happened. It happened thousands of miles away from most of us, in the windswept city of Wellington, New Zealand. There, the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit — the country’s chief anti-money laundering agency, roughly equivalent to FinCEN here in the United States — held a compliance…

Read More

FinCEN Gives Guidance, Says Little


Anti-money laundering regulators gave fresh guidance Monday about what financial firms should do for adequate customer due diligence — guidance that was, alas, light on specific steps to take. Instead, compliance officers have a three-page document best described as “Do what you think is best, based upon risk.” The guidance comes from FinCEN, the Financial…

Read More

Regulators on AML: Get Innovative

Financial regulators published a statement Monday encouraging banks to “implement innovative approaches” to their anti-money laundering compliance efforts, and said that firms will not be penalized for experimenting with new technologies for AML compliance “even if the pilot programs ultimately prove unsuccessful.” Those innovative approaches, the regulators said, might range from building sophisticated financial intelligence…

Read More