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CBAI Critical of FinCEN’s Regulatory Impact Assessment for New Customer Due Diligence Requirements

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has proposed new Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements for financial institutions to identify beneficial owners of legal entity customers. FinCEN’s rulemaking on these new requirements began in 2012, continued in 2014, and on Christmas Eve of 2015, published in the Federal Register the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) which included a brief 30 day comment period.

CBAI’s comment letter highlighted that community banks have long been enlisted in the fight against identity theft, financial fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financings. As good citizens, community banks are proud to fulfill their responsibility to identify and report the bad actors, but doing so comes with a very real regulatory burden and a significant cost of compliance. CBAI urged FinCEN to “tread as lightly as possible on community banks and to be cognizant of the many and significant challenges community banks face on a daily basis in complying with an ever-increasing regulatory burden while also striving to serve the needs of their communities, consumers, and small businesses.”

CBAI recommended that new CDD rules be justified with a robust cost/benefit analysis. A review of the RIA however discovered significant deficiencies. The RIA’s Executive Summary states, “Although limitations prevent us from fully quantifying all costs and benefits attributable to the CDD rule, [and later “we can only describe the rule’s benefits qualitatively”] the U.S. Department of Treasury is [nonetheless] confident that the proposed rule would yield a positive net benefit to society.” This statement reminds us of the figure of speech Trust us – we’re the government, and quite honestly is insufficient evidence to support the implementation of the proposed rule.

CBAI urged FinCEN to pause in the rulemaking process, conduct a robust breakeven analysis, and publish for comments (a 90 day comment period) a revised RIA. Read CBAI Comment Letter to FinCEN.

January 25, 2016