Assesses the adequacy of bank’s BSA/AML compliance program. Determine whether the bank has developed, administered, and maintained an effective program for compliance with the BSA and all of its implementing regulations.
Review of the bank’s written policies, procedures, and processes is a first step in determining the overall adequacy of the BSA/AML compliance program. The completion of applicable core and, if warranted, expanded examination procedures is necessary to support the overall conclusions regarding the adequacy of the BSA/AML compliance program. Examination findings should be discussed with the bank’s management, and significant findings must be included in the report of examination or supervisory correspondence.
The BSA/AML compliance program must be written, approved by the board of directors, and noted in the board minutes. A bank must have a BSA/AML compliance program commensurate with its respective BSA/AML risk profile. Refer to FFIEC's core overview section, "BSA/AML Risk Assessment," pages 22 to 30, for additional guidance on developing a BSA/AML risk assessment. Refer to Appendix I (“Risk Assessment Link to the BSA/AML Compliance Program") for a chart depicting the risk assessment’s link to the BSA/AML compliance program. Furthermore, the BSA/AML compliance program must be fully implemented and reasonably designed to meet the BSA requirements. Policy statements alone are not sufficient; practices must coincide with the bank’s written policies, procedures, and processes. The BSA/AML compliance program must provide for the following minimum requirements:
- A system of internal controls to ensure ongoing compliance.
- Independent testing of BSA/AML compliance.
- Designate an individual or individuals responsible for managing BSA compliance (BSA compliance officer).
- Training for appropriate personnel.
In addition, a "Customer Identification Program," (CIP) must be included as part of the BSA/AML compliance program. Refer to FFIEC's core overview section, "Customer Identification Program," pages 52 to 58, for additional guidance.
The board of directors, acting through senior management, is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the bank maintains an effective BSA/AML internal control structure, including suspicious activity monitoring and reporting. The board of directors and management should create a culture of compliance to ensure staff adherence to the bank’s BSA/AML policies, procedures, and processes. Internal controls are the bank’s policies, procedures, and processes designed to limit and control risks and to achieve compliance with the BSA. The level of sophistication of the internal controls should be commensurate with the size, structure, risks, and complexity of the bank. Large complex banks are more likely to implement departmental internal controls for BSA/AML compliance. Departmental internal controls typically address risks and compliance requirements unique to a particular line of business or department and are part of a comprehensive BSA/AML compliance program.
Internal controls should:
- Identify banking operations (i.e., products, services, customers, entities, and geographic locations) more vulnerable to abuse by money launderers and criminals; provide for periodic updates to the bank’s risk profile; and provide for a BSA/AML compliance program tailored to manage risks.
- Inform the board of directors, or a committee thereof, and senior management, of compliance initiatives, identified compliance deficiencies, and corrective action taken, and notify directors and senior management of SARs filed.
- Identify a person or persons responsible for BSA/AML compliance.
- Provide for program continuity despite changes in management or employee composition or structure.
- Meet all regulatory recordkeeping and reporting requirements, meet recommendations for BSA/AML compliance, and provide for timely updates in response to changes in regulations.
- Implement risk-based CDD policies, procedures, and processes.
- Identify reportable transactions and accurately file all required reports including SARs, CTRs, and CTR exemptions. (Banks should consider centralizing the review and report-filing functions within the banking organization.)
- Provide for dual controls and the segregation of duties to the extent possible. For example, employees that complete the reporting forms (such as SARs, CTRs, and CTR exemptions) generally should not also be responsible for the decision to file the reports or grant the exemptions.
- Provide sufficient controls and systems for filing CTRs and CTR exemptions.
- Provide sufficient controls and monitoring systems for timely detection and reporting of suspicious activity.
- Provide for adequate supervision of employees that handle currency transactions, complete reports, grant exemptions, monitor for suspicious activity, or engage in any other activity covered by the BSA and its implementing regulations.
- Incorporate BSA compliance into the job descriptions and performance evaluations of bank personnel, as appropriate.
- Train employees to be aware of their responsibilities under the BSA regulations and internal policy guidelines.
The above list is not designed to be all-inclusive and should be tailored to reflect the bank’s BSA/AML risk profile. Additional policy guidance for specific risk areas is provided in the expanded sections of this manual.
Independent testing (audit) should be conducted by the internal audit department, outside auditors, consultants, or other qualified independent parties. While the frequency of audit is not specifically defined in any statute, a sound practice is for the bank to conduct independent testing generally every 12 to 18 months, commensurate with the BSA/AML risk profile of the bank. Banks that do not employ outside auditors or consultants or have internal audit departments may comply with this requirement by using qualified persons who are not involved in the function being tested. The persons conducting the BSA/AML testing should report directly to the board of directors or to a designated board committee comprised primarily or completely of outside directors.
Those persons responsible for conducting an objective independent evaluation of the written BSA/AML compliance program should perform testing for specific compliance with the BSA, and evaluate pertinent management information systems (MIS). The audit should be risk based and evaluate the quality of risk management for all banking operations, departments, and subsidiaries. Risk-based audit programs will vary depending on the bank’s size, complexity, scope of activities, risk profile, quality of control functions, geographic diversity, and use of technology. An effective risk-based auditing program will cover all of the bank’s activities. The frequency and depth of each activity’s audit will vary according to the activity’s risk assessment. Risk-based auditing enables the board of directors and auditors to use the bank’s risk assessment to focus the audit scope on the areas of greatest concern. The testing should assist the board of directors and management in identifying areas of weakness or areas where there is a need for enhancements or stronger controls.
Independent testing should, at a minimum, include:
- An evaluation of the overall adequacy and effectiveness of the BSA/AML compliance program, including policies, procedures, and processes. Typically, this evaluation will include an explicit statement about the BSA/AML compliance program’s overall adequacy and effectiveness and compliance with applicable regulatory requirements. At the very least, the audit should contain sufficient information for the reviewer (e.g., an examiner, review auditor, or BSA officer) to reach a conclusion about the overall quality of the BSA/AML compliance program.
- A review of the bank’s risk assessment for reasonableness given the bank’s risk profile (products, services, customers, entities, and geographic locations).
- Appropriate risk-based transaction testing to verify the bank’s adherence to the BSA recordkeeping and reporting requirements (e.g., CIP, SARs, CTRs and CTR exemptions, and information sharing requests).
- An evaluation of management’s efforts to resolve violations and deficiencies noted in previous audits and regulatory examinations, including progress in addressing outstanding supervisory actions, if applicable.
- A review of staff training for adequacy, accuracy, and completeness.
- A review of the effectiveness of the suspicious activity monitoring systems (manual, automated, or a combination) used for BSA/AML compliance. Related reports may include, but are not limited to:
- Suspicious activity monitoring reports.
- Large currency aggregation reports.
- Monetary instrument records.
- Funds transfer records.
- Nonsufficient funds (NSF) reports.
- Large balance fluctuation reports.
- Account relationship reports.
- An assessment of the overall process for identifying and reporting suspicious activity, including a review of filed or prepared SARs to determine their accuracy, timeliness, completeness, and effectiveness of the bank’s policy.
- An assessment of the integrity and accuracy of MIS used in the BSA/AML compliance program. MIS includes reports used to identify large currency transactions, aggregate daily currency transactions, funds transfer transactions, monetary instrument sales transactions, and analytical and trend reports.
Auditors should document the audit scope, procedures performed, transaction testing completed, and findings of the review. All audit documentation and workpapers should be available for examiner review. Any violations, policy or procedures exceptions, or other deficiencies noted during the audit should be included in an audit report and reported to the board of directors or a designated committee in a timely manner. The board or designated committee and the audit staff should track audit deficiencies and document corrective actions.
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