Wednesday, February 22, 2017

State Examinations - AML/BSA Compliance - Self-Audit Checklist to Ensure Compliance

The Anti-Money Laundering rule (AML) implemented by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) creates many questions for lenders and brokers. We know that state examiners focus on a number of specific issues. A recent spate of calls reveals that New York, Indiana, Texas and Pennsylvania have questionnaires and examiners that ask pointed questions about the AML/BSA compliance program for mortgage originators.  To ensure that you are hitting all of the requirements we have compiled a self-audit checklist for you to use to evaluate and collect data.  You should run through this checklist annually.

Use the BSA/AML Self-Audit Checklist for mortgage originators, to ensure you keep all of the information needed for an examination.  Members may download the original form for customization from or

Compliance Officer Training

New York's examination findings sometimes cite a recommendation for the compliance officer to have training.  The FinCEN rule requires training, but does not say that it must come from a certified 3rd party.  FinCEN offers training on its website, and many compliance providers provide training for a fee. Familiarity with the rule - actually reading your policy - also counts as training.

Here is a video that instructs the Compliance Officer how to register for the FinCEN portal to report SARs

Quality Control and AML

We do not recommend that firms maintain a separate Anti-Money Laundering Plan, but rather that they integrate the AML process with their Quality Control function.  After all, FinCEN wrote the AML rule as a fraud detection/reporting requirement, and that is exactly what the quality control plan should do.  As a consequence, make sure your quality control plan has a robust red flag feature.

Register for the Portal

Your plan loses credibility if your compliance officer isn't even registered with the FinCEN portal.  It implies that you have no intention of participating in the program.  This simple fix will eliminate many citations.

1 comment: