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News Now

Washington
7M BSA penalty levied against Florida bank
WASHINGTON (3/25/11)— Pacific National Bank, Miami, Fla., has been hit with a $7 million civil money penalty (CMP) for violations of an Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) consent order, as well as violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and the USA PATRIOT Act, the OCC announced Thursday. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) also announced the assessment of a concurrent $7 million against Pacific National for the BSA violations, including BSA program implementation faults. The Florida bank neither admitted nor denied the charges. It did consent to paying the assessment in a single $7 million payment to the U.S. Treasury Department. The OCC issued a consent order to the bank late in 2005 that required the institution to enhance is BSA compliance program. The regulator credited the bank with taking “some necessary steps” to improve its program, but noted that efforts fell short of what was needed to bring its program into compliance with regulations and the 2005 order. Specifically, the OCC said, the bank failed in these areas: adequately identifying, monitoring, and reporting suspicious activities; adequately monitoring its foreign correspondent bank accounts; conducting sufficient due diligence; and adequately auditing its high risk areas and the transactions conducted in those areas. FinCEN had its say as well—determining that the bank failed to “implement adequate internal controls and independent testing at a level of consistency necessary to assure compliance with BSA anti-money laundering programs and suspicious activity reporting requirements.” FinCEN said Pacific National lacked “reasonably complete due diligence information for numerous customers,” information that FinCEN said is necessary to effectively monitor transactions and report suspicious activity in a timely manner. The bank violated BSA suspicious activity reporting requirements by filing numerous suspicious activity reports on a delayed or incomplete basis, FinCEN added. "Banks must devote appropriate resources commensurate with their risk profile and must take prompt and necessary steps to comply with the OCC enforcement actions to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA Patriot Act," said John Walsh, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, in a release.


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