Banking


The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency releases interim guidance to financial institutions on complying with two anti-money-laundering provisions of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA PATRIOT) Act of 2001 ( www.occ.treas.gov/fr/fedregister/66fr59342.pdf ). As of December 25, 2001, this legislation requires financial institutions to prevent foreign “shell” banks—those not physically present in any country—from obtaining banking services through correspondent accounts. The guidance includes a sample certification banks can use to keep records the act requires on the owners of any foreign banks for whom they maintain such accounts. ( www.occ.treas.gov/ftp/bulletin/2002-1.doc )

The Treasury Department offers $8 million in funding, under its “First Accounts” program, to encourage insured financial institutions to make banking services more widely available to low- and moderate-income individuals. Applications, which are available at www.treas.gov/firstaccounts/application.html , must be postmarked no later than March 20. ( www.treas.gov/press/releases/po891.htm )

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