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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

FinCEN, federal banking agencies clarify CDD requirements for charities and non-profit organizations

Federal Issues Financial Crimes FinCEN Federal Reserve NCUA FDIC OCC Bank Secrecy Act Anti-Money Laundering CDD Rule Of Interest to Non-US Persons

Federal Issues

On November 19, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in concurrence with the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, NCUA, and OCC (collectively, “federal banking agencies”), released a fact sheet clarifying that Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) customer due diligence (CDD) requirements for charities and nonprofit organizations (NPOs) should be based on the money laundering risks posed by customer relationships. FinCEN and the federal banking agencies remind banks that “the application of a risk-based approach for charities and other NPOs is consistent with existing CDD and other [BSA/anti-money laundering] compliance requirements.” The fact sheet further emphasizes that while “the U.S. government does not view the charitable sector as a whole as presenting a uniform or unacceptably high risk of being used or exploited for money laundering, terrorist financing [], or sanctions violations,” banks must adopt risk-based procedures for conducting CDD that will allow banks to (i) understand the nature and purpose of a customer relationship in order to develop a customer risk profile, and (ii) conduct ongoing monitoring for the purposes of identifying and reporting suspicious transactions “on a risk basis, to maintain and update customer information.” The fact sheet does not alter existing BSA/AML legal or regulatory requirements, nor does it establish new supervisory expectations. (See also OCC Bulletin 2020-101 and FDIC FIL-106-2020.)

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