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Over the next few years, financial statements provided by customers could include stimulus proceeds that overstate their ability to make their loan payments. While stimulus programs were intended to keep business viable during the pandemic, some industry segments thrived and could use the funds received to reduce debt or bolster their cash position.

Understanding how to dissect the financial statements that you receive will be critical when assigning credit risk going forward. Below is quick guide to help you determine how to include some of the different stimulus programs that were offered during the pandemic.

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While providing financial services to cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) can be risky, it can also be advantageous. There is a substantial need for financial services by the cannabis industry, and there is a significant opportunity for banks and credit unions who choose to work with CRBs. It requires financial institutions to understand the industry’s nuances, closely monitor ongoing guidance and regulation changes, adequately safeguard the institution, and train staff accordingly. Even if cannabis is not legal in the financial institution’s state, customers in neighboring states still pose a risk. As more states continue legalizing cannabis, the onus is on financial institutions to complete thorough due diligence and know the members that cross state lines for services.

Ultimately, it is at the discretion of each financial institution on how they want to handle banking these businesses, knowing the state and federal laws. Understand the risks and learn how to stay compliant while banking CRBs.

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Providing financial services to cannabis-related businesses can feel like navigating through a haze of constantly changing regulations. View on our-demand webinar, Navigating Regulatory Haze: Banking Cannabis-Related Businesses and Managing Risk for additional insight on how to manage regulatory compliance and maintain a risk-based program.

The ag economy has changed drastically during COVID. Many ag borrowers bolstered their financial position, benefiting from stimulus programs, higher commodity prices, and stronger-than expected yields. What should ag lenders expect ahead? What are top-of-mind concerns for ag producers and ag lenders?

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Learn how to navigate mergers/acquisitions and AML compliance.

Mergers and acquisitions (M & A) are alive and well in the financial services industry. With institution consolidations on the rise, it’s essential to conduct proper due diligence. A compliant Anti-Money Laundering (AML) program can determine the success of a merger or acquisition. When two financial institutions come together, each AML and fraud compliance function will need to be consolidated. Integrating programs creates challenges for Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Officers responsible for developing an integration plan while ensuring ongoing compliance with existing day-to-day tasks. In this whitepaper, discover why a compliant BSA/AML program is important in the consolidation of institutions. Understanding the mission-critical analysis, best practices, and risks of BSA/AML compliance – no matter what side of the transaction you are on – can determine the success of the transaction and assist in avoiding penalties.

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If M&A seems daunting, or if you are short-staffed, Abrigo Advisory Services can help. Learn more about how we can assist during this transition.

Conducting a staffing assessment is critical to understanding the effectiveness of your AML program. Not only will the staffing assessment reveal any bottlenecks you have in your workflow, but it may also uncover areas where competing tasks are costing your employees valuable time in the AML investigation process. An AML staffing assessment may also help you “make the case” for hiring more people when the total work hours may be higher than the number of hours available within the team. As with any strategic decision-making, the more data you have, the more compelling the solution.

This guide contains some best practices when conducting your assessment and will give you a solid chance to complete your review with results you can use to make strategic staffing decisions for your AML program. Embarking on an staffing assessment can be daunting and it requires a significant investment of time. However, the results can provide you with insights into your department’s workflow and arm you with significant evidence to make needed staffing changes.

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Is your staff set up to work as efficiently as possible? Learn more about how our expert AML consulting team can help.

When FinCEN issues advisories, financial institutions need to know what this means for them regarding their suspicious activity monitoring and reporting programs. FinCEN has identified financial red flag indicators of ransomware-related illicit activity. These indicators can be used in training front line staff as well as AML and fraud investigators.

While much of the cybercrime detected comes from simple techniques such as phishing, others are becoming more sophisticated and complex. Malicious software often encrypts data and prevents or limits users from accessing their system until a ransom is paid. This guide provides summarized examples of trends, typologies, and indicators of ransomware that financial institutions should be aware of, as identified by FinCEN.

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Cyber attacks are the most significant threat to U.S. financial institutions. Learn more about what your institution can do to prevent and detect cyber fraud. View our blog, FinCEN Guidance on Cyber Fraud – Video.

Are you in BSA limbo because your BSA officer won the lottery, or they said they couldn’t take any more government changes and retired early? Jokes aside, sometimes an institution loses its top employees for reasons out of its control. The BSA Officer role is vital at a financial institution and one it can’t fill with just any warm body. Institutions need to fill the position with expertise, or they can face extra scrutiny and problems down the road. This guide outlines steps financial institutions can take to help prevent disaster if they ever find themselves going through BSA staffing changes.

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Curious on how and when to conduct a formal BSA staffing assessment? Watch our webinar, BSA Staffing Assessments – How Much is Enough?

Is your BSA department understaffed? Are you prepared for unexpected or expected personnel leave? Keeping up with the increased scrutiny of regulations can be overwhelming, especially when change or growth occurs at your financial institution. With turnover in the banking industry continuing to increase and resources tight, it’s important to know that your team can handle an increased workload while keeping current on all day-to-day regulatory deadlines. Assess your institution’s resources and learn how Abrigo’s Suspicious Activity Monitoring Solution can help with this decision guide.

Do you need help working alerts? Our Advisory Services team can act as an extension of your BSA department. Contact an expert here.

When purchasing new compliance software, financial institutions should carefully perform due diligence when comparing service providers. Once a decision is made and software implementation is complete, the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recommends periodic ongoing monitoring of the service provider. Use this checklist to review fundamental steps to help your institution through the BSA compliance vendor selection and monitoring process.

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Discover key areas for your BSA compliance training program with our Introductory BSA Guidebook.

Your BSA Guidebook for Suspicious Activity Monitoring and Reporting

An institution’s BSA/AML Program should have strong policies, procedures, and processes in place to identify, evaluate, and report suspicious activity.

 

Use this guidebook to learn how to :

  • Evaluate your BSA system and software
  • Develop a thorough risk assessment of your financial institution
  • Protect your institution from cybercrime
  • Establish strategies for a successful CDD program
  • Implement your OFAC compliance program to enforce sanctions

Check out Part 1 of our series for a comprehensive guide to building a sound BSA Program.

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Fighting financial crime is a never-ending task and you may not have all the resources you need to do that job to the best of your ability. Find out how BAM+ can be customized to your unique risk profile or how our advisory team can assist with dedicated experts to support your BSA/AML needs. 

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