Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Week of Jan. 13

In This Issue…

Take action now on Senate measures

Working through the Alliance your OBA has with our colleagues in the other state bankers associations and the ABA, we’re doing what we can to encourage Senate passage of two important measures. Both of these measures will help you and your bank better serve your customers and your communities.

The first measure for consideration is being targeted at Senate Banking Committee members. S. 1200 is a companion bill to the SAFE Act (H.R. 1595) that’s already passed the House of Representatives. Its purpose is to create a “safe harbor” for banks that choose to serve marijuana-related businesses (MRBs) with respect to the regulatory requirements they face if they “bank” those MRBs.

Since neither Sen. Inhofe nor Sen. Lankford serve on that committee, and in light of their previous declarations of firm and consistent opposition to this effort, the OBA is not asking member banks to take action on S. 1200. Yet.

Assuming the bill makes it out of committee (a result that’s clearly a long-shot at this point given the Senate’s involvement with the impeachment trial) we’ll let you know what tactics the Board will direct us to take based on what we know then.

The other important measure, and one on which we’re asking you to consider weighing in with both Senators’ offices, is S. 2563. This bill focuses on improving the nation’s anti-money laundering activities and Bank Secrecy Act requirements. Here are the highlights of the message we’ve been collectively crafting with our colleagues:

  • Banks have been “deputized” to play a critical and important role in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes.
    • We’re not complaining; banks are and always have been willing to help our nation fight terrorists and money-launderer.
    • But – you can help us be more effective fighting these crimes by updating the anti-money laundering laws and the Bank Secrecy Act.
  • S. 2563 would require the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) to create a national database of beneficial ownership information with information that’s filed at the time the business entity is formed.
    • Banks would still be required to gather the beneficial ownership information as we transition to a better system that makes it better for all of us.
    • Updating this data collection requirement is a process, not an event; it will take some time to transition to a new, centralized system.
  •  Today, banks are mandated to devote significant time and resources to obtain information that shows the names of those that directly or indirectly own, control or benefit from the operation of a private corporation, LLC, partnership or other form of business operation.
  • By law, this information must be updated and verified every time a new or existing business client opens an account, obtains a loan or secures any other service with or from a bank. Yet there are no official registries that collect the information and banks can only rely on the information they get from the customer. This loophole thwarts the efforts of many banks like mine, which are working overtime to effectively comply with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism laws.

S. 2563 would fix this problem by requiring the new entity to:

  • Verify and maintain business ownership information in one central location.
  • Register with FinCEN at the time the entity is formed.
  • File updated reports when beneficial ownership changes.

This new process will eliminate redundancies and create more transparency and uniformity around collecting beneficial ownership data across America. This would simplify the process for law enforcement by maintaining the information in a single federal database.

The burden on business owners is, at best, minimal. The legislation only requires disclosure of basic information that businesses need to disclose to open a business bank account anyway. It’s just a question of which way is better –

  • Disclosing ownership up front and consolidating that information one central data base that’s accessible to both law enforcement and depositories.
  • Having it done piecemeal by more than 4,500 banks with 50-plus databases or more?

The Senate should act soon and pass this straightforward solution that will have little or no impact on businesses operating legitimately but will help law enforcement better target their resources and continue to keep bad actors out of the system.

Please help us by supporting this measure when it comes to the Senate floor by voting “Aye.”

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Review your bank’s information for OBA Directory

The Oklahoma Bankers Association Directory of Banks is again being produced this year by NFR Communications (formerly BankNews Media). To best serve you, we want to include the most up-to-date and accurate information about your bank, your branches and your staff. However, we need your help.

To ensure we are using the most accurate information, please follow the instructions provided in the letter that was mailed to your bank last week by NFR Communications. Please review and revise as necessary the financial directory listing for your holding company, your main bank and your branches. You can also use the login information that was included in the letter to update your listing online or, if needed, download a new form.

Completed forms may be returned by email to or faxed to 913-261-7010. Please update the information no later than Feb. 10, 2020.

We appreciate your help in making the 2020 Edition of the Oklahoma Bankers Association Directory of Banks a success.

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OBA education corner …

Did you survive the holidays? Have you trained yourself to quit writing “2019” as the date? Whatever your answer may be to those questions, you should give a resounding “yes!” to attending education events from the OBA this year. Here’s a good list with which to start:

  • Women In Banking Luncheon, Jan. 23, Oklahoma City — Guest speaker Danielle Ezell will discuss “effective negotiating” during the lunch. Learn the skills empowered communicators use to achieve mutual benefits at the negotiation table. This session delivers repeatable strategies for preparing and negotiating common issues such as asking for a raise, setting fees and promoting teamwork.
  • Creating the Right ERM Program for YOUR Community Bank, Jan. 28, webinar — Are you creating your first ERM Program for your bank? Do you want to ensure your current program is complete yet keep it simple? If yes to either question, this webinar is for you!
  • Dealing With Subpoenas, Summonses, Garnishments, Tax Levies, Etc., Jan. 28, webinar — This webinar will provide attendees with the best practices and red flags for dealing with the various legal documents served upon financial institutions.
  • 2020 OBA Intermediate Banking School, Feb. 3-7/June 1-5, Oklahoma City — Presented in two sessions, the school is designed to instill an appreciation for and an understanding of the operations and interrelationships of departments within a bank.
  • W-9 Deposit Account Set Up and Interest Reporting – B Notices, Jan. 29, webinar — We will look at the name control match process, the IRS CP2100 process, how your institution may begin back up withholding, and many other issues. Learn how to get the forms right at new accounts so the IRS reporting is correct and in compliance.
  • Health Savings Accounts – Clarifying the Rules, Jan. 31, webinar — Whether you are currently offering HSAs to your client base or are ‘on the fence’, this detailed webinar will make you feel more informed and comfortable with the definition on your duties.

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