From: Politico | The Agenda
By DIEGO ZULUAGA
Next, Waters’ committee should review the 1970 Bank Secrecy Act. The BSA was aimed at curbing money laundering, the process of turning funds earned through illegal activities into legitimate-looking assets such as real estate. Banks are required to file reports on every cash transaction over $10,000 and some above $5,000 — a compliance nightmare for small banks, accounting for nearly a quarter of their regulatory costs.
The BSA is ineffective at prosecuting serious financial crimes: Out of more than 5 million reports of suspicious transactions filed in 2018, only 20 percent related to major public concerns such as money laundering, terrorism, and cybercrime. The Treasury Department’s enforcement division undertook just three enforcement actions in 2018, and just five in 2017. The IRS reports a decline in money laundering and BSA-related investigations from 2014 to 2016, the last year for which figures are available. Looking at the data, it seems that the deluge of reports makes tackling serious crime more difficult, not easier.