Ruh roh: Big U.S. banks push to ease money laundering rules

Reuters is reporting that U.S. banks plan to recommend a “complete overhaul” of how the government requires them to investigate and report potential criminal activity.

Do I need to explain why now?

The Clearing House will propose a new system under which banks do not investigate and report every transaction that could possibly raise a red flag, according to people involved in the effort.
Instead, banks would focus on investigating and reporting transactions based on specific concerns relayed to them by law enforcement. Under this approach, banks could shift their focus, as law enforcement priorities change.

Translation: Tell us exactly what to report. Report nothing? You got it! Focus only on Islamic charities? Ok! Ignore these Russian oligarchs? Yes boss!

Deregulation will be a hallmark of this presidency, and the big banks will take advantage of reducing costs and turning profits any way they can. So what if some terrorist groups have an easier time funding themselves, or drug traffickers don’t need to worry about covering their tracks as much? Think of the shareholders!

The “burden” of reporting such illicit financial activity costs them up to $8 billion a year, if you want to believe the Heritage Foundation. That’s a lot of money, right?

Despite an increasing regulatory burden and amid lackluster share performance, the industry logged record profits for the period, topping the second quarter of 2015, according to figures from SNL Financial and S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Profits for the three-month period totaled $43.6 billion, compared to the $43.01 billion in Q2 of 2015, a 1.4 percent beat. On a sequential basis, the April-to-June period topped the previous quarter by $4.56 billion, an 11.7 percent rise.

$43.6 billion. In profits. In one quarter.

Cry me a river.