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Top BSA/AML Blog Posts: Cannabis, SARs Topped the List in 2019

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Key Takeaways The most popular BSA/AML and fraud blog posts in 2019 related to staying on top of regulatory changes. BSA and compliance officers wanted to read about SARs, risks tied to cannabis-related businesses, and preparing for CAMS exams. Regulatory change in focus.

2020 Goals for Credit Unions Based on NCUA Supervisory Priorities

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Key Takeaways Make sure your credit union is filing SARs and CTRs properly. Thoughtfully consider whether or not your CU can safely and properly serve hemp-related businesses. Strengthen credit risk by improving your credit union's loan underwriting standards.

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Five Reasons You Need to Attend ThinkBIG: Fighting Financial Crime

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Key Takeaways Formerly BAM+ User Group (BUG), ThinkBIG: Fighting Financial Crime has been around for 16 years. Earn approximately 10 CE credits in two-and-a-half days. Get insight on the latest product roadmaps and test out upcoming product releases before they go live.

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Holiday Sales on the Dark Web

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Key Takeaways Holiday sales, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, are aggressively promoted by criminal sellers on the Dark Web seeking to grow sales and customers.

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Cannabis Banking: Mitigating Reputation Risk to Financial Institutions

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Key Takeaways The number of institutions banking cannabis grew significantly in 2019. Despite Federal ambiguity, State Regulators are beginning to clearly define their stances on cannabis banking.

Fine-Tuning ALM Strategies for 2020

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Key Takeaways If you don't feel like your modeling results are relevant, then it might be time to ask different questions. Shift your ALM model from a static to a dynamic approach to find more value in your results. Strapped for time to implement these strategies?

Artificial Intelligence in BSA

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Key Takeaways The most popular BSA/AML and fraud blog posts in 2019 related to staying on top of regulatory changes. BSA and compliance officers wanted to read about SARs, risks tied to cannabis-related businesses, and preparing for CAMS exams. Artificial Intelligence in BSA/AML.

System 130

FinCEN Steps up Efforts to Protect Against the Six Biggest Threats to the U.S. Financial System

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The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is tasked with protecting the financial system both within the United States and internationally. Financial criminals are working hard, using technology and innovation to their advantage, to stay one step ahead of FinCEN and financial institutions.

System 193

Kleptocracy – What Does it Mean to Community Financial Institutions?

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The term kleptocracy has been used in the financial crimes profession for years, but many AML professionals do not understand its meaning and therefore are not adequately monitoring for it within their BSA/AML program. So, what is a kleptocrat?

Using BSA Hot Topics to Strengthen Your BSA Program in 2020

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Key Takeaways Using exam findings from 2019 can help strengthen your BSA program in 2020. Institutions must create a strong culture of compliance. Pillar violations see a big increase in the nature and seriousness of the violation. . Looking back to strengthen your BSA program.

New Year’s Resolutions to Grow Your Financial Institution in 2020

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Key Takeaways To book loans more quickly, institutions must create efficiencies and increase loan turnaround. Institutions must be proactive in effectively pricing loans. Looking to mergers and acquisitions, institutions can expand into new areas of business or geographic markets.

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Five Ways to Build a Solid Foundation With Your Examiners

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One of the most important business relationships you will have is the one you maintain between your institution and your examination staff. This is not a relationship that only needs attention during the exam process. Instead, this relationship should be nurtured by both sides on an ongoing basis.

Prevention is the Key to Stopping Elder Financial Exploitation & Fraud

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Key Takeaways Elder financial abuse/exploitation (EFE) is under-reported although it remains on the rise. ABA study shows banks are reporting more cases of EFE. The Senior Safe Act provides a safe harbor for financial institutions reporting suspected EFE. . The under-reported and growing crime. Elder financial exploitation and elder fraud are rising at an alarming rate as they continue to be serious crimes in the United States.

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What SEC Filers Have Learned About CECL Implementation

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Key Takeaways An SEC filer with a 2020 CECL deadline recommends starting ASAP on implementation -- even if your deadline is 2023. Assess data before selecting your methodology or methodologies. Be willing to change as needed. .

Funding Loan Growth: How to Set Your Institution Up for Success

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Key Takeaways To grow your FI, you must support the growth with proper funding. Relationship pricing leverages your customer base and cross-sells products for a larger share of the deposit wallet. Bundling accounts can make a loan more attractive for both the institution and the borrower. .

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Dynamic vs. Static Approach to Asset/Liability Management: Why It Matters

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Key Takeaways Changing your perspective on asset/liability management can position your financial institution for better business results. A dynamic ALM approach provides an ongoing method for evaluating risk and return and for strategic decision-making.

FDIC Releases Formal and Informal Enforcement Actions Manual

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Key Takeaways. The FDIC released a manual on Formal and Informal Enforcement Actions. ABA study shows banks are reporting more cases of EFE. The Senior Safe Act provides a safe harbor for financial institutions reporting suspected EFE. .

FDIC 130

November Employment Report Shows Underlying Strength

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The morning’s Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a fairly (and surprisingly) strong labor market. There were 266,000 new jobs added in the month of November, compared to the 188,000 new jobs expected.

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New Regulatory Guidance on Providing Banking Services to Hemp-Related Businesses

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Key Takeaways. The landscape around banking hemp and hemp-related businesses is very confusing. A joint statement was issued to provide guidance to institutions regarding banking hemp. The guidance does not cover marijuana banking. . Seeing through the smoke.

Asset/Liability Management by the Numbers: How Are FIs Approaching ALM Models?

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Key Takeaways A dynamic asset/liability management (ALM) process can inform sound decision-making in both strategy and risk – but not many FIs approach ALM this way. Most FIs outsource their ALM model, rather than using a self-run model. Both have their pros and cons.

Ask Your Credit Analysts These Questions to Optimize Deal Flow

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Key Takeaways Optimizing loan deal flow involves more than number crunching and processes; don't overlook the human component. Some questions may help identify loan types, industries, and even co-workers who contribute to bottlenecks.

4 Traits of a Strong Credit Analyst

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Key Takeaways Credit analysts who are proficient in routine skills but also possess certain soft skills are most beneficial to a bank or credit union. Curiosity to dig behind the numbers and perspective are two traits of a strong credit analyst.

The Need for a FinCEN Database

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Key Takeaways FATF best practices identify the most common challenges that countries face in ensuring that the beneficial owner(s) is identified. FATF suggests using a multi-pronged approach to ensure beneficial ownership is obtained.

In 2020, Improve Your BSA/AML Program by Focusing on These 4 Areas

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Key Takeaways Now is a good time to plan 2020 BSA/AML training and efforts to educate clients and colleagues about BSA and fraud red flags. It's also a good time to enhance your institution's BSA/AML risk assessment. Sustainability of your institution's BSA program deserves particular focus in 2020.

Cross-Selling: Uncover Hidden Growth in Your Financial Institution

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Key Takeaways Cross-selling may be the most efficient way for your financial institution to achieve strong growth. Cross-selling to stem “hidden defections” represents huge untapped opportunities for institutions, according to a study by Bain. Having the right technology can play an important role in cross-selling CFI customers or members. Cross-selling: An efficient growth investment.

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Marijuana Legislation Could Be Scheduled for a Congressional Vote to Decriminalize the Drug

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Key Takeaways The goal of the SAFE Banking Act is to provide a safe harbor for institutions looking to bank credible CRBs. The MORE Act and the STATES Act are currently proposed to legalize/decriminalize marijuana. The MORE Act will be voted on in Congress in November. .

Marijuana Legislation Planned for a Senate Vote to Decriminalize the Drug

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Key Takeaways The goal of the SAFE Banking Act is to provide a safe harbor for institutions looking to bank credible CRBs. The MORE Act and the STATES Act are currently proposed to legalize/decriminalize marijuana. The MORE Act will be voted on in Congress in November. .

What the SAFE Banking Act Means for Financial Institutions

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Key Takeaways Cannabis-related businesses operate in high cash volumes, creating a public safety concern. The SAFE Banking Act looks to create a safe harbor for institutions looking to bank legitimate CRBs.

A Strong Loan Review System Is Good for Your Business

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Key Takeaways Effective credit risk review promotes lending agility. Many of the objectives of a credit risk review system support business goals. Keys to effective loan review are independence, sufficient standing in the organization, and adequate funding.

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FinCEN Reissues Real Estate Geographic Targeting Orders

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On November 8, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reissued their Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) for 12 metropolitan areas. GTOs are authorized under the Bank Secrecy Act to detect money laundering and other illicit activity through the purchases of real estate.

The Risk Your Asset/Liability Management Process Might Be Missing

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ALM | 4 minute read Key Takeaways Many financial institutions view asset/liability management as a "check-the-box" regulatory exercise.

How Stress Test Results Can Yield Better Lending, Credit, and Risk Decisions

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Stress Testing | 7 minute read Key Takeaways Stress testing is an important component of sound risk management. Top down and bottom up analysis can inform capital assessments. Stress testing can put a burden on smaller financial institutions, but today's technology "levels the playing field.".

USDA Releases Interim Final Hemp Rules

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3 minute read Key Takeaways The USDA released their interim rule on hemp production. States and tribes must include key components in their programs. States may begin submitting programs to the USDA for approval. .

FinCEN Issues Advisory on the Financial Action Task Force Updated List of Jurisdictions with AML/CFT Deficiencies

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3 minute read Key Takeaways Three countries are added to the FATF list: Iceland, Mongolia, and Zimbabwe. DPRK and Iran continue to need enhanced due diligence. FinCEN released update guidance around these FATF updates. .

How to Increase Member Business Lending

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Small Business Loans | 5 minute read Key Takeaways Credit unions' small business loans hit a record low, while small business lending continues to remain strong at big banks and community banks. Going digital can help reduce the cost of small business lending and capture more member business loans.

Effective Loan Pricing – Why It’s Imperative Now More than Ever

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Loan Pricing | 7 minute read Key Takeaways Financial institutions' net interest margins face a nasty squeeze, but a number of factors can contribute to lower yields on loans. Financial institutions have options when net interest margins are squeezed.

October Employment Report: Not So Scary

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Economy | 2 minute read Key Takeaways Overall, October's national employment report was positive. The General Motors strike imp acted the manufacturing sector. Year-to-date, job gains have slowed in comparison to last year.

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CECL Extensions One Step Closer to Final Approval

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CECL | 6 minute read Key Takeaways The FASB affirmed plans to extend deadlines for CECL implementation; a final vote is expected in November. The board will monitor whether it has divided the two adoption-date buckets in the most appropriate way.

Cyber Complications for Vendor Risk Management

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The following article was first published in ABA Banking Journal on October 17, 2019. In a marketplace where data is shared and distributed at record speeds, third-party or vendor risk management is a challenge for most businesses. The banking industry is no stranger to this.

E-Commerce Merchants: A Hot Commodity in the Dark Web

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Dark Web | 5 minute read Key Takeaways Cybercriminals are now targeting e-commerce merchants with malware attacks. Merchants of all sizes are being targeted. Financial institutions should be proactive with their fraud prevention on the dark web. . The New Frontier on the Dark Web.

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Cyber Complications for Vendor Risk Management

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The following article was first published in ABA Banking Journal on October 17, 2019. Cybersecurity | 4 minute read Key Takeaways Third-party/vendor risk management is becoming increasingly challenging with more cloud-based providers.

On Spreadsheet Day 2019, Celebrate the App, But Acknowledge Its Limitations

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On Spreadsheet Day 2019, Celebrate the App, But Acknowledge Its Limitations. Sub-category | 10 minute read Key Takeaways Spreadsheet Day is a good time to celebrate this popular tool while examining some vulnerabilities spreadsheets pose for FIs.

Avoiding the Suspicious Activity Monitoring Rabbit Hole

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SAMS | 4 minute read Key Takeaways Staff your BSA department for success with more senior employees on alert triage. Document all decisions and clearly state why the activity is (or is not) deemed suspicious. Optimize your transaction monitoring system regularly.