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House vote expected soon on MSB bill
WASHINGTON (7/8/08)—The U.S. House of Representatives returns to session today and is scheduled to take up a list of bills, including one of particular interest to credit unions—the Money Services Business Act (H.R. 4049). That bill is intended to encourage credit unions and banks to serve money services businesses (MSBs) by clarifying that they would not be responsible for whether the MSB is complying with anti-money laundering laws and any other applicable Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements. The bill was introduced in 2007 by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairman of the House Financial Services subcommittee on financial institutions. Other members of the House Financial Services Committee to back the bill include its chairman, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), and ranking member Spencer Bachus of Alabama. In 2006, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) began seeking public comment regarding the impact of BSA regulations on the ability of money services businesses (MSBs) to open and maintain accounts and obtain other banking services at depository institutions. The request for comment, printed in the Federal Register, noted, "(FinCEN is) seeking input to assist in our efforts to ensure that money services businesses that comply with the law have reasonable access to banking services and, specifically, to avoid any unintended misinterpretation of Bank Secrecy Act requirements that could adversely affect the issue of the establishment and maintenance of account relationships and other banking services for money services businesses by banking institutions." MSBs are nonbank financial institutions that provide one or more of such services as money orders, traveler’s checks, money transmissions, check cashing, currency exchange, currency dealing, or issuing, selling or redeeming stored-value cards. As of May 15, a FinCEN list maintained information on 35,245 registered MSBs.
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