The House of Representatives passed, by a voice vote, a bill designed to reform the Bank Secrecy Act ("BSA") and anti-money laundering ("AML") laws.

Specifically, the COUNTER Act (H.R. 2514) is intended to strengthen the effectiveness of anti-money laundering authorities by:

  • expanding the defined purpose of the BSA to include safeguarding the integrity of the international financial system;

  • increasing the administrative budget for the International Monetary Fund to provide AML technical assistance;

  • creating additional Treasury attaché positions overseas that are focused on AML issues;

  • adding FinCEN domestic liaisons to improve regulatory cooperation;

  • establishing a FinCEN Exchange Program to facilitate information sharing between law enforcement, financial institutions and FinCEN;

  • conducting studies and implementing strategies to address trade-based money laundering, de-risking and Chinese money laundering; and

  • requiring an examination of Treasury's delegation of regulatory authority under the BSA.

The bill would also aim to modernize the AML system by, among other things:

  • establishing a pilot program under which financial institutions are permitted to share suspicious activity reports (or "SARs") with foreign affiliates;

  • requiring FinCEN to share money laundering threat patterns and trends with financial institutions;

  • providing new sources for monetary rewards to whistleblowers who identify violations of the BSA;

  • further dissuading repeat offenders under the BSA;

  • incentivizing financial institutions to pursue innovative approaches to BSA compliance;

  • creating innovation labs within the Treasury and each Federal functional regulator; and

  • requiring FinCEN to conduct a study into the internal use of emerging technologies.