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Bracing for Beneficial Ownership while Keeping BSA Costs in Check

February 17, 2016
Read Time: 0 min

Can Your BSA/AML Program Withstand the Costs of Beneficial Ownership?

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Waiting for beneficial ownership is like waiting for spring. You know it’s coming, but you’re so buried in snow (other responsibilities) that it may be easy to forget it’s right around the corner.

We know the feeling. There is no denying that a strong BSA/AML compliance program takes time, energy, and resources. Simply put, it’s a monetary investment. But we know that it’s a necessary one, as the cost of noncompliance is even higher. 

Beyond the regular costs of maintaining an effective BSA program, consider the changes that are constantly shaping our industry. BSA/AML scrutiny has already intensified over the past few years, and it will continue to be in the spotlight if and when beneficial ownership becomes the fifth pillar.

We all know that beneficial ownership will be a game-changer in the BSA/AML world. So in the midst of it, how can you maintain a vigorous program while still keeping costs in check?

Understand How Beneficial Ownership Will Affect Costs

According to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, beneficial ownership is going to cost the industry more than $100 million annually. The cost of updating Information Technology systems can cost roughly $20 million for large banks, between $3 and $5 for midsize banks, and between $50,000 and $70,000 for small credit unions, according to the initial FinCEN cost analysis. Those numbers may not even account for all of the changes that will be needed. Paired with the incurred costs of higher regulatory scrutiny, a financial impact is a given.

While certain costs may be unavoidable, there are many other ways your institution can prepare for beneficial ownership. Maleka Ali, CAMS, CAMS-Audit, is the Director of Consulting at Banker’s Toolbox and has over 30 years’ experience in the financial community. She recently led a webinar on getting your program prepared for beneficial ownership, which is available for free here.

Some of the monetary implications of beneficial ownership cannot be avoided. However, there are other factors of BSA costs that are more within your control.

Analyze Your Current Situation

In preparation for beneficial ownership, it may be wise to take a look at your current processes. Have you recently reviewed internal controls that assess risk? Do you have enough internal resources? Are you dedicating enough time to BSA, or perhaps too much?

If you’re currently using a BSA/AML software system, you may also want to assess that. Since some vendors raise prices automatically upon contract renewal, you may be urged to take a look at your system’s efficiency. Is it cost effective? Is it giving you the results you need to prepare for exams? With the already-increased costs that come with greater BSA/AML scrutiny, can you really afford to pay more for the same false-positives? If the answer to any of these is no, you may be back to the drawing board.

Success, Not Software

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the impending changes, we understand your concerns. At Banker’s Toolbox, our team of experts is here to help you succeed. As former bankers and regulators, we’ve been there, too. That’s why we made our BSA/AML software solution flexible enough to change with your institution.

The goal of BAM+ is to not to create more work for you, but to create more efficiency for your program. We’ve built logic into our BAM+ system that will allow you to collect information on beneficial ownership and keep the records that regulators will want to see. So when beneficial ownership is integrated, we’ll be ready. So will you.

With beneficial ownership about to shake up the world of BSA/AML, BSA officers will be more visible than ever. Costs will be incurred, and time and resources will be allocated. If your current infrastructure is too costly or isn’t preparing you for what’s coming, we can help.


Learn more about the Banker’s Toolbox solutions at

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