Federal banking regulators are increasingly relying on informal actions to pressure banks to improve their anti-money laundering programs out of the public spotlight, say compliance professionals.
The battle between bank business line managers charged with raising revenue and the compliance staff who must vet financial ventures for potential regulatory violations has worsened in the stalled economy.
The ongoing U.S. financial regulatory overhaul and recent compliance penalties have sharply increased the demand for seasoned anti-money laundering professionals at federal agencies and banks, say sources.
The U.S. thrift regulator, slated to shut its doors in July, has been spending its waning days levying more and larger monetary penalties against individuals tied to institutions subject to anti-money laundering enforcement actions.
Federal examiners are asking banks deemed "systemically significant" under last year's financial regulatory overhaul law to upgrade their anti-money laundering compliance programs to "strong" ratings.