For the next few days, we're going to highlight BSA professionals and their biggest BSA/AML wins as we countdown to National Financial Crime Fighter Day on October 26. Today, we have the honor of celebrating the great work Arlene Mejias, CAMS has done as a BSA Manager at Byline Bank.
Years in industry: 14 years in banking, 8 in BSA/AML
How did she get her start?: Arlene started in the banking industry 14 years ago with Archer Bank, which merged with North Community Bank as part of the Metropolitan Bank Group which then became Byline Bank. (Did we mention mergers and acquisitions are big in banking right now?) She was originally part of the fraud department and transitioned over to the BSA department when it was first formed at Byline Bank.
What does she love about her job?: Arlene loves that there is no typical day in BSA/AML. You never truly know what you’re going to get from day to day. She really enjoys the investigation aspect of it and how exciting it is to dig deeper into these cases to find out if they are truly suspicious or not. She also loves that, as an industry, BSA/AML is constantly evolving. You have to work and dedicate yourself to keep up with the latest trends. To be a successful BSA Manager, you have to pay attention to the tiniest of details and be organized. Because of that, Arlene stresses to not only her staff, but anyone interested in a job in BSA/AML that it needs to be a career path, not just a temporary job.
What is her biggest BSA/AML win?: When Arlene was still working as a fraud coordinator (before the BSA department was formed), she was filing SARs, but never really knew if they made a difference or not. One day, she noticed a specific business customer had a lot of checks going through a money service business (MSB) to a credit union in another state. She knew the customer wasn’t registered as an MSB and, after a little digging, found out that the business filing as an MSB wasn’t even registered as an MSB. She contacted the credit union to let them know what was going on and they weren’t very concerned about the money or source of funds, which raised another red flag for her. Arlene strongly recommended they terminate the banking relationship. A few years later, she found out the credit union was closed for AML infractions and not monitoring MSBs. Additionally, Arlene noticed the MSB was on the penalties list and also shut down. Although BSA/AML professionals rarely know the results of their hard work – especially two years after initially investigating it, Arlene felt good knowing she had at least played a part in preventing this suspicious behavior.
On behalf of Abrigo, thank you, Arlene, for all that you do to protect the U.S. financial system! Now, let’s celebrate!
For more information on BSA/AML Day visit the website at BSAAMLDAY.com.
Learn more about our BSA/AML and fraud prevention software, BAM+, and how it can help you in your continued fight against financial crime.