PATRIOT Act Gets Support In Poll

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Almost 70% of financial industry professionals surveyed say they believe the USA PATRIOT Act will achieve its goal of protecting the U.S. financial system from terrorist financing and money laundering. The survey, conducted by eFunds Corp., found that 31% said they were not very or not at all confident that the legislation would deter terrorist financing.

When asked, "What else, if anything, needs to be done to prevent terrorist access to the U.S. financial system?" one- third of financial executives said more due diligence was needed by the staff at financial institutions and one-fifth said more employee training is required.

The USA PATRIOT Act is sweeping ant-terrorism legislation enacted after Sept. 11. Section 326 of the Act requires financial institutions to verify the identities of any person seeking to open an account, maintain verification records, and check the person against lists of known or suspected terrorists. Other findings:

* Financial institutions identified return deposit items as the type of fraud activity most damaging (31%), followed by check forgery (29%), fraudulent information (19%), counterfeit and altered checks (18 %) and potential terrorist access (3%).

* 72% said that better technology in the hands of criminals was the main reason financial institutions are facing more fraud today than before.

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