After the 9/11 attacks, notably the quickest passing of a bipartisan law was enacted. The Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (USA PATRIOT Act) was signed into law on October 26, 2001, just over a month after the attacks. (October 26 is now nationally recognized as BSA/AML Day.) This was the first legislation that criminalized terrorist financing and equated it to money laundering, with strong regulatory requirements attached, requiring financial institutions to implement AML programs, including Customer Information Program (CIP), due diligence procedures, and information sharing requirements.
The USA PATRIOT Act immediately changed the everyday work life of FinCrime professionals. BSA departments grew significantly with the new requirements, and new programs were immediately developed and refined. BSA Officers were now required to be approved by the Board of Directors, have the necessary experience and qualifications, and have the appropriate authority to administer the financial institution’s BSA/AML program. Regulatory scrutiny became ever-present, knowing that the security of their homeland was at stake.
The importantance of the BSA tole came to be paramount to the entrie risk management program and included as part of the federal safety and soundness examinations.
BSA continued to evolve into an even more significant endeavor with the 2018 passing of the customer due diligence final rule and beneficial ownership requirements. If that wasn’t enough on the shoulders of FinCrime professionals, the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AMLA) was passed on January 1, 2021, to strengthen and modernize the BSA, and is expected to bring about the most substantial changes within the BSA since the USA PATRIOT Act. AMLA also explicitly includes Combating the Financing of Terrorist (CFT) along with AML.