Ellison On GAO Remittances Report
WASHINGTON — Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) issued the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report he requested reviewing the effects of Bank Secrecy Act regulations on remittances to fragile countries:
“Congress should make it a priority to facilitate a safe and transparent channel for remittances. Vulnerable populations in fragile nations, including Somalia, rely on this money to meet their daily needs, and yet Bank Secrecy Act regulations intended to protect money flows from theft, corruption, and terrorism are having the opposite effect,” said Rep. Ellison. "I also urge the Treasury Department to follow through on the GAO’s recommendation and assess the extent to which bank derisking affects their ability to monitor remittance flows for financial crimes, and identify necessary corrective actions.”
The United States is the largest source of remittances to other countries, with an estimated $67 billion sent globally. The GAO report found that, due to Bank Secrecy Act regulations, money transmitters have increasingly used channels outside the banking system to remit money abroad, including cash couriers. These channels are generally considered less transparent and more at risk for money laundering and terrorism financing than banking channels.
The full text of the GAO report is available here.