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Top BSA/AML Blog Posts: Cannabis, SARs Topped the List in 2019

Mary Ellen Biery
January 6, 2020
Read Time: 0 min

Regulatory change in focus

Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and compliance officers at financial institutions in 2019 remained focused on staying on top of all of the regulatory changes occurring in the space, and it showed in the articles on Abrigo’s blog that were the most popular.

Understanding the terminology and risks surrounding banking (or not banking) cannabis-related businesses were some of the themes of posts that attracted the most eyeballs last year. Topics tied to professional development were also popular, including prepping for the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) exam and writing effective Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

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Cannabis-related businesses (CRBs) & SARs

Here are the 10 most popular blog posts related to BSA/AML and fraud in 2019, based on pageviews:

  1. Ask the Experts: Tips on Taking the CAMS Exam Best practices for studying and being prepared for the CAMS exam.
  2. SAR Tips Part 1 - Secrets to Effective SAR Writing Different Suspicious Activity Report review teams have unique goals and areas of focus, so it’s important for you, as a BSA Officer, to understand your readers and what they are looking for.
  3. Cracking the Legal Cannabis Code: Marijuana, Hemp, and CBD The cannabis industry can be hazy for financial professionals. Add the legislative issues facing the U.S. federal and state governments, and it can become highly overwhelming. Here's a recap to roll up the facts.
  4. Ask the Experts: 10 Questions on Banking MRBs You’ve got questions about banking marijuana-related businesses, we’ve got answers. This article summarizes the top questions answered during a webinar hosted by Abrigo featuring Link to Banking experts Robert Casares, CAMS, and Tom Fleming, CAMS.
  5. 6 Cramming Tips for the AAP Exam Passing the Accredited ACH Professional (AAP) Exam shows the world you’re a subject matter expert in payments. Here are tips to help you prepare for the test.
  6. Fortnite: Gaming’s Newest Money Laundering Risk Fortnite, arguably the most popular online game of the decade, is being used for money laundering by all sorts of bad actors, including international criminal organizations.
  7. Can Financial Institutions Bank CBD Retailers? Did the Farm Bill Legalize CBD? A recent round of warning letters by the Federal Trade Commission to companies selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) is a reminder to financial institutions to tread carefully as they look into the possibility of providing banking services to cannabis-related retailers and other cannabis-related businesses (CRBs).
  8. Should an Institution Participate in Section 314(b) Information Sharing? This popular article highlights the pros and cons of registering with FinCEN Information Sharing and Section 314(b), and how to avoid potential pitfalls after registering.
  9. What is Model Validation and Why Do You Need One? Model validations are a vital component of monitoring a financial institution’s Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) risk. However, many institutions don’t know what a model is, let alone when an independent third-party validation is required.
  10. Why Are Your SARs Not Getting Read by Law Enforcement? Here Are 7 Tips to Improve Your Narrative Your suspicious activity reports (SARs) are swimming in a sea of two billion SARs filed with FinCEN each year, so how do you get your investigations noticed? Here are seven tips.
About the Author

Mary Ellen Biery

Senior Strategist & Content Manager
Mary Ellen Biery is Senior Strategist & Content Manager at Abrigo, where she works with advisors and other experts to develop whitepapers, original research, and other resources that help financial institutions drive growth and manage risk. A former equities reporter for Dow Jones Newswires whose work has been published in

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About Abrigo

Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

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