WBA was well represented at last week’s ABA Washington Summit when twenty-four WBA members lobbied Congress on a variety of critical banking issues. Members reminded Congress that AML/BSA compliance structure has not changed since 1970, even though banking law enforcement and technology have changed dramatically. One of the main talking points revolved around the current $10,000 threshold for filing Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs). The threshold has not been changed since it was adopted in 1970. If adjusted using the Consumer Price Index, the threshold today would be $63,000. A seasoned customer exemption, within parameters to be set by Treasury, would also help reduce excessive CTR filings, making it easier to spot critical information.

Bankers asked Congress also to support and pass bipartisan legislation H.R. 1595, the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. This legislation would allow banks to serve cannabis-related businesses in states where the activity is legal and clarify that handling proceeds from their legitimate transactions is not money laundering and does not violate federal law. It requires federal banking regulators to provide explicit, clear, and uniform expectations regarding the treatment of all cannabis-related accounts. The bill also specifies that a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is not required solely because a transaction involves proceeds from a legal state cannabis business.

WBA members highlighted the differences between banks and credit unions and asked Representatives and Senators to support the Access to Better Credit (ABC) Act that would exempt from income tax revenues from AG and small business loans. 

Issues:

  • Modernize Anti-money Laundering/Bank Secrecy Act laws
  • Cannabis Banking (SAFE Act)
  • A national data security and privacy standard
  • Level the tax playing field with credit unions and farm credit
  • Delay and study Current Expected Credit Loss standard (CECL)
  • Continue work on regulatory reform

Highlights of the 2019 ABA Washington Summit:

  • House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) on cannabis banking and housing finance reform
  • Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) on housing finance reform and data security
  • Congressman Mike Gallagher addressed Wisconsin members at a Tuesday dinner to discuss cybersecurity and session dynamics
  • Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett on his 3% economic growth projection for 2019

View the handout materials here.

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Chairman Maxine Waters at ABA general session
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Meeting with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind.
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WBA members meet with John Hair (U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy's office).
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Sen. Mike Crapo at the ABA general session.
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Meeting with U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil
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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin meets with Wisconsin bankers
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Congressman Mike Gallagher addresses the WBA group.