DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Ruben Hinojosa
Sent By: holly.bullard@mail.house.gov
Date: 11/19/2013

Help Community Banks Fight Money Laundering
Become Original Co-Sponsor of “Building Community Banks’ Capacity to Combat Money Laundering Act.”
Deadline to become original co-sponsor, December 3rd.
Dear Colleague,

In 2012, HSBC Bank was levied a $1.9 billion fine by U.S. bank regulators for violating the Bank Secrecy Act. Ensuring that U.S. banks are not complicit in criminal activity and holding them accountable for lapses in safeguards against money laundering should be a top priority for Congress and financial regulators.

Appropriately, financial regulators have recently raised their expectations with regard to Bank Secrecy Act compliance. Significant costs for training, consulting, computer programs, and auditing are all part of a proper BSA-Anti-Money-Laundering (BSA-AML) compliance plan. Large banks, acting as economies of scale, may be able to absorb these costs. However, the large, fixed costs that are needed for a robust BSA-AML program are causing great strain on community banks.

To address this concern, Rep. Hinojosa will introduce a bill that will utilize a portion of BSA fines to help mitigate burdensome training and technology costs and to build community banks’ capacity to combat money laundering.

Historically, our government has often utilized fines collected from law-breaking organizations to combat the misconduct’s resulting social ills. Funds realized from the Big Tobacco settlements have been used in large part to reduce the public health impact of smoking, and the funds from the big banks’ mortgage settlements have been used to mitigate the impact of harmful mortgage practices on homeowners. Fines collected from institutions that run afoul of the Bank Secrecy Act should be used in part to improve our community banks’ ability to fight money laundering on the front lines.

Please join me as an original co-sponsor of the “Building Community Banks’ Capacity to Combat Money Laundering Act.” For more information and bill language, please contact Holly Bullard, holly.bullard@mail.house.gov; 5-2531. Deadline to become original co-sponsor, December 3rd.

Sincerely,
Rubén Hinojosa
TX-15
Member of Congress