Banking industry representatives are clambering to get on the Treasury Department's short list of outsiders allowed to vet upcoming recommendations on stemming money laundering.
The agency has received more than 70 applications for the few seats available to industry representatives on the advisory group it is putting together to consider changes in its enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act.
"They represent big banks, small banks, nonbank financial institutions, independent banks, and regional banks," said Peter G. Djinis, director of Treasury's Office of Financial Enforcement. "The check cashers have applied, casino organizations -- there's a pretty good amount of interest in this thing," he said.
Treasury hopes to finish by the end of the year a top-to-bottom internal review of its antimoney-laundering program, including a broad look at the Bank Secrecy Act. Treasury will then make recommendations for changes and present the proposals to the advisory group to solicit their opinion.
Until the review is finished and Treasury hears from the advisory group, it is not likely the department will undertake any broad regulatory changes.
"We are not going to be issuing any kinds of new regulatory requirements until we figure out where they fit within the overall structure," Mr. Djinis said.
The department has not yet decided how many people will be on the advisory panel. It has decided that it will include representatives from other government agencies, Mr. Djinis said.
Ideal of Inclusion
"You can imagine the difficulty we face in trying to come up as best we can with a democratically constituted representation without unfairly excluding class of financial services," he said. "That's 70 [applicants] just from the industries affected -- you have to have government [representatives] there as well."
Representatives from the Justice Department, drug czar's office, bank regulatory agencies, IRS, and Customs are expected to be included.