The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued OCC Bulletin 2016-6, which outlines its process for providing an opportunity for the banks that it supervises (such as national banks, federal savings banks, and federal savings associations) to respond to charges of non-compliance with Bank Secrecy Act compliance program requirements or repeat/uncorrected problems with BSA compliance programs. The new Bulletin supplements the “Interagency Statement on Enforcement of Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Requirements” and rescinds OCC Bulletin 2005-45.
The OCC issues a cease-and-desist order when it cites a supervised bank for a BSA compliance program violation or repeat/uncorrected BSA compliance problems. This new Bulletin sets forth the OCC’s procedures, including the OCC’s notice and the bank’s opportunity to respond, before a final decision is made to issue a cease-and-desist order.
Bulletin 2016-6 sets forth the following procedure:
- OCC identifies potential non-compliance with BSA program requirements or repeat/uncorrected BSA compliance problems
- OCC examiner-in-charge and others from bank supervision and legal departments review facts
- OCC sends bank management written notice about potential non-compliance or problems and gives opportunity to respond
- Bank provides information in response within 15 days (responses provided after 15 days may not be considered)
- OCC supervisory office and legal reps consider information submitted by bank, examination findings, and other relevant information, and present recommendation to OCC Supervision Review Committee
- Supervision Review Committee or Senior Deputy Comptroller determines whether to pursue enforcement action
- Final supervisory letter or report of examination and proposed cease-and-desist order provided to bank
- If bank consents, OCC works with bank to finalize order. If not, OCC seeks order through notice of charges and administrative hearing process
The Bulletin also provides that the OCC may also seek civil money penalties after sending the bank or other target a 15-day letter, the OCC notifies FinCEN of all enforcement actions and potential civil money penalties when 15-day letters are issued, and that the OCC ensures that suspicious activity reports are filed when there are criminal violations of the BSA or anti-money laundering laws.
OCC Bulletin 2016-6 provides some changes to and fine-tuning of the earlier process for OCC administrative enforcement actions against banks for BSA violations as outlined in OCC Bulletin 2005-45. OCC-regulated banks would be well-served to familiarize themselves with the updated process.