The Bank Slate


USAA hit with $140M in fines tied to BSA issues

USAA Federal Savings Bank in San Antonio has been ordered to pay a total of $140 million to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency tied to lapses in its Bank Secrecy Act compliance. 

The $117 billion-asset bank will pay a $80 million civil money penalty to Fincen, along with a $60 million fine to the OCC. The bank is now operating under enforcement actions associated with violations tied to BSA and anti-money laundering laws. 

Fincen, which is part of the Treasury Department, said the bank, from January 2016 to April 2021, failed to implement and maintain an anti-money-laundering program that met legal standards. Fincen said USAA failed to report thousands of suspicious transactions. 

USAA “willfully failed to ensure that its compliance program kept pace, resulting in millions of dollars in suspicious transactions flowing through the U.S. financial system without appropriate reporting,” Himamauli Das, Fincen’s acting director, said in a press release. 

The bank’s management “had knowledge of the violations, yet they failed to quickly and effectively remediate the identified deficiencies,” Fincen said in a corresponding consent order.

The OCC, which flagged USAA’s BSA and anti-money laundering deficiencies as early as 2017, said the bank pushed its timeline for addressing the issues back from 2020 to June 2021. The agency issued a cease-and-desist order requiring the bank to take “broad and comprehensive” action to improve internal controls. 

USAA was also required to train its staff and secure third-party risk management of its BSA and anti-money laundering programs. 

USAA said in a release that its issues were tied to a failure to “sufficiently strengthen” the expertise and capabilities needed to meet BSA and anti-money laundering requirements. “We are working cooperatively with the OCC and will continue to do so,” the statement added. 

“USAA has already made progress in many critical areas by investing in new systems and training, enhancing staffing and expertise, and improving our processes,” Wayne Peacock, the bank’s CEO, said in a statement. 

USAA has had several regulatory run-ins in recent years, including financial penalties assessed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the OCC.

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