Bank Secrecy Act: House Committee Advances Bipartisan Bill

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The House Financial Services Committee passed a bill last Thursday addressing Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) relief for credit unions.

The Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology and Examiner Reform (COUNTER) Act (H.R. 2514) passed the committee with a 55-0 vote. (Yes, bipartisan bills can pass in this Congress!)

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) successfully added an amendment to the COUNTER Act to index the Currency Transaction Report (CTR) thresholds for inflation and further study the impact of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

During the hearing, Rep. Barry Loudermilk (R-GA) and other members of the committee expressed support for credit unions and acknowledged the need for increasing the CTR threshold.

“BSA compliance is always at the top of the list in the feedback we receive from our members,” said Jeremy Empol, vice president of federal government affairs for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues. “CUNA and the Leagues, as well as other financial services providers, have been after multiple updates to general banking concerns for quite some time. Advancing this legislation is a strong first step.”

He added: “The bill now moves to the House floor, where it will hopefully be greeted with the same degree of bipartisanship.”

Leagues President and CEO Diana Dykstra commended the committee’s bipartisan leadership.

“The Leagues and CUNA would like to express appreciation to both sides of the aisle for finding a bipartisan compromise and working cooperatively to address a major issue for financial institutions,” Dykstra said. “We applaud the leadership of both sides for finding common ground in this political climate.”

Once out of the House, the bill will advance to the Senate where it may find a difficult path forward. However, Senate Banking Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has routinely expressed support in addressing this issue, which if completed will be a major accomplishment for this session of Congress.

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