The recent leadership shuffle at Banesco USA may have resulted from problems in its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, according to a report in the South Florida Business Journal.
Banesco, based in Coral Gables, Fla., provided few details when it announced last week that former president and chief executive Rafael Saldaña had resigned. The $772 million-asset bank said that board member Seno Bril would serve as interim chief while it searched for a permanent replacement.
But new details behind Saldaña's departure emerged in the South Florida Business Journal article published Wednesday. The board ousted Saldaña over compliance issues with the anti-money laundering law, three anonymous sources told the Journal.
Banesco USA chairman Carlos Palomares confirmed in the article that BSA compliance was a concern at the bank, although he would not give Saldaña's reasons for leaving.
"We have seen very strong growth over the past several years and we are proud of the fact that the strong growth came on good performance of quality and assets," Palomares told the Journal. "But connected to that growth we found in a late 2012 audit there were some BSA monitoring procedures that were weak and that needed strengthening."
The bank has developed a plan to improve the monitoring process and hired an executive vice president and chief administrative and risk officer, Alba Prestamo, in late 2012, Palomares said in the article. He added that the bank had found no evidence of money laundering by customers.
Saldaña and Bril did not immediately return American Banker's calls seeking comment. A spokesman for the bank confirmed the accuracy of Palomares' remarks in the Journal.