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Subject: Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-money Laundering
Date: July 22, 2010
To: Chief Executive Officers and Compliance Officers of All National Banks, Department and Division Heads, All Examining Personnel, and Other Interested Parties
Description: Regulations Imposing Restrictions on Mexican Banks for Transactions in U.S. Currency
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued Advisory FIN-2010-A007 on June 21, 2010. The advisory discusses a recent change in Mexican financial regulations applying to Mexican (credit) banks that could affect the operations of U.S. financial institutions. The new anti-money laundering (AML) regulations will restrict the amounts of cash (banknotes and coins) denominated in U.S. dollars that Mexican banks may receive. The Mexican regulations will still allow certain transactions up to relatively low-value thresholds. The regulations do not restrict noncash transactions denominated in U.S. currency (e.g., wire transfers, ACH payments, credit card transactions, traveler’s checks). The new Mexican regulations are intended to mitigate risks of laundering proceeds of crime tied to narcotics trafficking and organized crime.
The regulations state that the restrictions on U.S. currency transactions by banks with individuals will go into effect four business days after official publication on June 16. The restrictions on U.S. currency transactions by banks with legal entities and trusts will go into effect 90 calendar days after official publication (on or about September 14).
The change in Mexican regulations could have a significant impact on the operation of U.S. financial institutions, both directly with respect to the nature of activity and relationships with Mexican customers and financial institutions, and indirectly with respect to possible changes in activity both within the United States and through intermediary countries. As a result of the change to Mexican regulations, financial institutions should anticipate changes in transaction activity and consider the possible impact of the restrictions when reviewing financial activity and monitoring transactions. While the transactional activity that U.S. financial institutions may experience as a result of the new Mexican restriction may not be indicative of criminal activity, U.S. financial institutions should consider the potential of this type of activity in conjunction with other information, including transaction volumes, and sources of funds, when determining whether to file a suspicious activity report.
For further information, please contact your examiner-in-charge, OCC supervisory office, or the OCC Compliance Policy Department at (202) 874-4428.
Ann F. Jaedicke