Cuba travel, cannabis, mobile discussed at BSA confab

Nov. 16, 2016 -- Travel to Cuba, marijuana business banking, shared branching, mobile payments and more were the grist for lively discussion among the more than 300 participants at this week’s NASCUS/CUNA Bank Secrecy Act Conference in San Antonio.

During a panel that included federal regulators from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and NCUA, participants at the conference posed a number of questions about issues facing credit unions as their members and their families travel to Cuba. Credit card use was of particular interest, especially with regard to whether credit unions need to determine if they will allow their cards to be used by members traveling in the Caribbean island state.

Additionally, the hundreds of participants listened to an exchange between the FinCEN and NCUA representatives about BSA responsibilities of participants in the shared-branch network.

A session on legal marijuana business banking also drew the interest of the credit union and regulator audience members (particularly cogent given that, last week, the number of states where recreational or medicinal use of cannabis is legal expanded by eight, for a total of 28 nationwide). Extended discussion focused on the risks posed by credit unions by ancillary businesses to the legal marijuana industry.

In another session, participants heard that it is vital that credit unions cover emerging technology such as mobile payments under their BSA and anti-money laundering (AML) policies. That’s especially important, one speaker acknowledged, since criminals are more likely to attempt to enter a credit union’s system online, rather than merely walk into a branch.

The 2016 BSA Conference ended its three-day run in San Antonio Nov. 16. Next year’s conference is set for Nov. 12-15 in Las Vegas.