House Committee advances bills on FinCEN oversight, CBDC

The House Financial Services Committee today advanced legislation that would increase congressional oversight of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and prevent the Federal Reserve from issuing a central bank digital currency. In a memo to committee members, the American Bankers Association weighed in on several bills, expressing support for more FinCEN oversight and relaying banker concerns about a CBDC.

Among the bills passed out of committee was legislation to require the Treasury Department to keep the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee regularly informed about FinCEN activities. The committee also advanced a bill to require FinCEN to identify the number of Bank Secrecy Act reports filed by financial institutions with FinCEN. Both passed by bipartisan vote. In its comments, ABA said the latter bill, H.R. 5485, would help banks understand the protection and use of highly sensitive BSA reports by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. “Overall, it will bring a much-needed measure of accountability to the BSA process,” the association said.

The committee was divided along partisan lines over bills seeking to rein in the Fed’s ability to issue a CBDC, with Republicans supporting the measures and Democrats opposed. The committee passed legislation that would prevent the creation of a CBDC as well as require an act of Congress to create the currency. ABA supported the measure to prevent the creation of a CBDC, H.R. 5403, reiterating its view that the digital currency is unnecessary and would present unacceptable risks and costs to the financial system. The committee also advanced ABA-supported legislation to extend the deadline for the pilot program authorizing suspicious activity report sharing with foreign affiliates from Jan. 1, 2024, to three years after the date the program begins.

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