WASHINGTON — The Treasury Department is still struggling to understand whether some businesses are losing access to the banking system because of heightened enforcement of anti-money laundering requirements and concerns about high risk activities, a top official said Wednesday.
"Treasury is working with multiple international organizations, such as the World Bank, the Financial Action Task Force, and the Financial Stability Board to get greater clarity on the magnitude, breadth, and drivers of the problem, and the ability of financial institutions that have had accounts terminated to access other banking services," said Daniel Glaser, the Treasury's assistant secretary for terrorist financing, in prepared remarks at an event hosted by the Treasury at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. "This effort is fairly advanced and we expect to have more data in the coming weeks."
Glaser reiterated that Treasury expects banks to take a "nuanced" approach in assessing business' potential risk and to make decisions on a case-by-case business. But many institutions have cut off whole business lines, including payday lenders and others, for fear of regulatory criticism.
At the event, Glaser spoke specifically to officials representing countries in the Persian Gulf, many of which have lost critical correspondent banking relationships because of so-called "de-risking."
"I would like to stress that we take concerns related to correspondent banking seriously," Glaser said.
Still, despite calls to dial back some regulations, Glaser said that won't happen.
"We are not going to loosen laws or lower global standards, and we are not going to walk away from supervising our financial institutions or enforcing our laws," he said.