How to Hire Your Next BSA Officer

When it comes to a bank’s due diligence with respect to AML/BSA compliance, having a BSA officer is a necessity. That said, it can be challenging to find a high-quality individual to fill in the role, especially with the volatility of BSA and AML compliance standards constantly changing.

A BSA officer holds a lot of weight in regards to maintaining a bank’s reputation and strictly abiding by BSA standards. They are responsible for integrating an AML compliance program, staying up to date with changes to the Bank Secrecy Act, educating staff on how to catch money laundering schemes early and more. Aside from having a quality fraud prevention system in place, hiring a knowledgeable BSA officer ensures that as fraudsters get better at their craft, financial institutions have systems in place to combat them. 

Without a high-quality BSA officer on staff, banks are more susceptible to negative repercussions such as criminal penalties, loss in customer trust, damaged reputation, potential job loss and hefty fines that could be crippling to smaller institutions. That is why it is critical to have the right person on your team so your financial institution’s operations are closely complying with the Bank Secrecy Act.

When you find yourself with a vacant BSA officer position, here are some things you will want to look out for:

Knowledge of AML Compliance

It’s one thing to know what BSA compliance is from a surface level, but your BSA officer must have a full understanding of the regulations and requirements and can speak to how they’ve applied them to their previous role. Before hiring a BSA officer, you might want to test potential candidates’ knowledge about things that have been recently added to the Bank Secrecy Act. 

For example, within the first quarter of 2020 alone, there are new BSA/Anti-Money Laundering updates issued. Your next BSA officer should know these updates prior to stepping into the role and be able to speak to how they’ve assessed risk when it comes to money laundering and how they can apply it to your institution.

Your ideal candidate should demonstrate that they are able to self start and bring new strategies into your financial institution with real-world examples from past positions. Standout candidates might even come to the table with more specific examples they plan to integrate into your company. Based on how they respond to these inquisitions, you can gain some insight as to how they will respond to changes in the future.

Extreme Attention To Detail

As the industry progresses, banks have gotten more savvy to the types of tricks fraudsters use to get around standard security measures. But just as banks are adapting, so are fraudsters. Criminals are finding new and innovative methods for committing fraudulent activities. Attention to detail is going to be essential for a BSA officer to successfully institute a system that works. 

Some things your BSA officer should watch out for include:

  • Tracking and monitoring high-risk accounts and customers and organizing data to note when onboarding new clients
  • Compiling results and applying responses to financial audits
  • Immediately notifying authorities of suspicious activity such as cash purchases of negotiable instruments, and transactions exceeding $10,000

Ideally, your BSA officer should be diligent when combing through BSA guidelines and have a passion for the necessary skills it takes to do the job well. 

Passion for the Position

For any employee, not just BSA officers, longevity in the role is critical to the future of your financial institution. An individual with a passion for what they do ensures that they are in it for the long haul. It’s easy to filter out those who are just merely “looking for a day job.” 

While it can be difficult to find somebody who is specifically passionate about BSA compliance, BSA officers should have a passion for justice and protecting people from fraud. Before hiring, get a feel for the driving factors behind becoming a BSA officer. 

Additionally, ask about the different kinds of training they’ve had in the past, and what kind of training they’d like to do in the future. Here some specific types of training that are optimal for BSA officers:

  • AML/BSA Certification – course goes over best practices and should be a basic course that they’ve taken before.
  • AML/BSA Training- This course should be taken annually as it’s critical in their development and understanding of new updates to the Bank Secrecy Act as well as AML compliance. 

Ultimately, your BSA officer should come to the table with ideas on how to prevent fraud in the most efficient and effective way possible. That’s why many BSA/AML compliance programs across the country use Intellicheck to catch fraudsters.

Go the Extra Mile with Intellicheck

The primary role of a BSA officer is to prevent money laundering schemes from occurring and one of the best ways to do that is to catch it in the moment, in real-time. With Intellicheck, banks can identify fraudsters before they are funneled into the AML compliance program to verify an individual’s identity. 

Intellicheck is easy to use; simply scan the barcode on the back of the customer’s driver’s license and within seconds you will know whether or not an individual is using false identification. Intellicheck allows you to save resources on verifying identities down the line by catching fraudulent activity early on. 

Thanks to Intellicheck, businesses have been able to identify fraudsters with 99% accuracy saving them money on hefty fines due to AML compliance violations. In addition to hiring a BSA officer, protect your business with Intellicheck to safeguard your business for the future.

Unpacking Everything You Need to Know About AML Compliance

Fraudsters have been using money laundering schemes to cover illegal activities for decades. In an effort to cut back the number of people taking advantage of the system, the government has imposed a set of rules and regulations called AML compliance.

Anti-Money Laundering Act (AML) first appeared in the U.S. to stop perpetrators from moving money to evade taxes and use it for notorious purposes. According to a report by the United Nations Department of Drugs and Crime, fraudsters manage to launder between $800 billion to $2 trillion internationally every year.

Failing to abide by the AML compliance regulations can cause banks to face harsh repercussions including hefty fines, loss of credibility and even potential jail time. Therefore, they need to keep themselves updated concerning the latest industry trends. So, if you are associated with a bank or a financial organization and need a refresh, here is everything you need to know about AML compliance.

What is AML Compliance?

According to Investopedia, Anti-money laundering (AML) is a set of laws and regulations put in place to prevent fraudsters from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income. Though limited in terms of what is actually laid out in AML guidelines, AML is an umbrella under which many other sets of regulations exist. For example, the Bank Secrecy Act outlines a series of regulations financial institutions must comply with to avoid hefty fines. 

AML Compliance for Financial Institutions

Financial institutions that fail to comply with BSA/AML compliance regulations can end up facing hefty fines that can cripple their business. Apart from that, it can also damage your market reputation and reduce your ability to combat money-laundering schemes in the future.

AML regulations are a global practice, and organizations have been fined in all parts of the world when found non-compliant. According to a report, the U.S. accounts for 91 percent of the total fines, with a value of up to $23.53 billion. Europe has imposed fines amounting to $1.7 billion, and the FCA, UK, imposed the majority of them.  

Therefore, the only correct way to protect your business from major financial setbacks is to educate yourself concerning the necessary regulations and integrate new technology and practices into your point of sales or identity verification efforts.

Here’s everything you need to know:

United States BSA Requirement

The BSA, or Bank Secrecy Act, requires all financial institutions in the U.S. to assist government agencies with preventing and detecting money laundering schemes. More specifically, BSA requires financial institutions to maintain records of cash purchases for negotiable instruments. They must also file reports of cash transactions of an amount exceeding $10,000 (daily aggregate amount).

Financial institutions must also report any suspicious activity that may point toward tax evasion, money laundering, and other criminal activities. All banks and other financial institutions must fulfill certain requirements to be BSA certified including:

  • Establish an effective monitoring system along with a customer due-diligence program
  • Establish a competitive Suspicious Activity Monitoring and Reporting Process (SARs)
  • Maintain Monetary Instruments Logs (MILs) to keep a record of cash purchases or transactions of monetary instruments with a total value of $3000 to $10,000
  • Financial institutions must establish AML compliance programs, including the designation of a BSA officer, the development of internal controls, independent schedule audits, and on-going employee training programs

Banks that violate BSA provisions may face criminal fines of up to $1 million or twice the value of the transaction. Meanwhile, the employee responsible could face fines and possible jail time. Therefore, to make sure you abide by these complex rules and regulations, you should hire a BSA Officer.

Hire a BSA Officer

A BSA officer is responsible for making sure that all the operations of your financial institution are compliant with BSA certification guidelines, as stated in the Bank Secrecy Act. Some of the primary responsibilities of a BSA officer are:

  • Implementation of a BSA compliance program
  • Educate and train employees on BSA requirements
  • Perform risk assessments and issue recommendations to executives
  • Ensure AML certification documents are up to date.

Understanding AML KYC (Know Your Customer)

While AML refers to the umbrella that is anti-money laundering, KYC, or Know Your Customer, is a critical step in the process. KYC is the verification process of an individual’s identity before you start working with them. For financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, and insurance providers, KYC protects them and their customers from the back whip of illegal activities such as money laundering, corruption, terrorist financing and other fraudulent activities.

Here are some KYC compliance steps to help you protect your business:

  • Establish a Customer Identification Program (CIP) by collecting necessary information such as their names, addresses, date-of-birth, etc.
  • Obtain information about the nature of the customer’s business to understand their professional goals with your institution.
  • Establish the beneficial ownership of companies/corporations
  • Perform Risk Assessments to compare the information collected to lists of individuals that are known for corruption, sanctions, criminal activities, bribery, suspicion of money laundering, etc.
  • Set up an identity verification system with the most effective and convenient solution for banks and financial institutions, Intellicheck.

Catch Fraud Early with Intellicheck

One of the best ways to protect your business from fraud and money laundering schemes is to invest in ID authentication platforms with the highest accuracy possible to support your AML compliance efforts.

While other ID scanning solutions are designed to display information on your POS system, Intellicheck can authenticate IDs with 99% accuracy. It informs you from the start whether or not you should even bother funneling someone through your AML compliance procedures. This can save your team tons of time and resources by catching fraudsters in the act in real time. In fact, Intellicheck’s authentication suite can verify an ID in just a matter of seconds with greater accuracy than any other solution out there.

Protect Your Business

Understanding the basics of AML compliance is only the first step towards protecting your business. It is your responsibility to ensure that you deploy foolproof fraud prevention technology to stay AML and BSA compliant. That’s why a sophisticated ID authentication software, such as Intellicheck, can help you catch fraudsters early on, saving you money in the long run.

Failing to catch money-laundering schemes can result in hefty fines, which can cripple smaller banks and cause irreparable damage to larger financial institutions, both in money and reputation.

With Intellicheck’s highly accurate authentication platform, you can cut back the risk of missing a fraudster in the onboarding process. Intellicheck is the industry leader in ID checking solutions and is even utilized by U.S. government institutions to authenticate IDs.