Bankers were never crazy about being drafted into the war on drugs. Given a choice, many would sooner have burned their draft cards than marched through the thicket of paperwork involved in enforcing the money-laundering laws.
But the times are changing, and the Treasury Department's Stanley E. Morris is the man driving those changes.
Mr. Morris, head of the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or Fincen, wants to be as much a partner with banks as a drill sergeant.
The time is finally ripe for such an alliance, he said.
Many observers think he's just the man to make the partnership work. He's both a tough cop and an experienced policymaker who has worked for four administrations.
He spent the last three years as chief of staff to Ronald K. Noble, the assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement.
From 1989 to 1991, he was deputy director to drug czar William Bennett. Before that, he was director of the U.S. Marshals Service.
Fincen, established in 1990 to collect financial crime data, keeps records of banks' currency transaction reports and suspicious transaction referrals.
It has been lauded lately for helping the Central Intelligence Agency nab Russian the spy Aldrich Ames and providing evidence against the World Trade Center bombers.
But, Mr. Morris said, expecting bankers to help the government catch crooks calls for something in return.
If banks track customer activity carefully, they shouldn't have to fill out useless forms, he said. - Shannon Henry
Stanley E. Morris
Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
Department of the Treasury
2070 Chain Bridge Road Suite 200
Vienna, Va. 22182