Banking and Finance Law Daily House passes bills that include BSA enforcement improvements
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

House passes bills that include BSA enforcement improvements

By Richard A. Roth, J.D.

Five financial services-related bills have been passed by the House of Representatives. The most significant bills would enhance BSA enforcement, address crowdfunding, and try to broaden inclusion in the financial system.

The House of Representatives has passed, by voice vote, bills that are intended to result in improved enforcement of anti-money laundering laws, new business financing, and providing financial services to underserved individuals and communities. Two of the bills had bipartisan sponsorship.

Bank secrecy improvements. The "Coordinating Oversight, Upgrading and Innovating Technology, and Examiner Reform Act" (COUNTER Act) (H.R. 2514) would close loopholes in the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), increase penalties for violations, and help financial institutions meet their compliance obligations, according to a press release by Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif). The bill also would seek to enhance international cooperation; improve examiner training; and protect civil liberties and individual privacy.

It was co-sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo) and Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio).

Crowdfunding. The "Equity Crowdfunding Act" (H.R. 4860) would give the Securities and Exchange Commission authority over the use of crowdfunding efforts to finance business start-ups. It was co-sponsored by Waters and Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC).

Financial inclusion. The "Financial Inclusion in Banking Act" (H.R. 4067) would call on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to study how underserved individuals and communities could be brought into the financial system. It would create an Office of Community Affairs within the CFPB to carry out appropriate research and require periodic reports to Congress.

According to sponsor Rep. David Scott (D-Ga), the new office would identify best practices, develop financial education strategies, and improve coordination among regulatory agencies, minority financial institutions, consumer and civil rights advocacy groups, and the Bureau’s own Consumer Advisory Board.

Commemorative coins. Other bills would require commemorative coins to celebrate the opening of the National Law Enforcement Museum (H.R. 1865) and the ratification of the constitutional amendment that gave women the right to vote in national elections (H.R. 2423).

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