The U.S. Federal Reserve on Tuesday closed an enforcement action against Bank of Nova Scotia over the lender’s anti-money laundering controls.
The action, launched eight years ago, required Scotiabank BNS-T to tighten its money-laundering measures. At the time, the Federal Reserve said that the Canadian bank and its New York division were working to address “deficiencies relating to the branch’s risk management and compliance” with the Bank Secrecy Act and the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
Without detailing any offences, the order called for improved oversight of account holders and an internal framework for managing regulatory compliance. It also required Scotiabank to submit a plan within two months of the order, outlining how it would address the issues, as well as a review of wire transfer activity in the latter half of 2014 to determine whether suspicious activity involving high-risk customers was identified and reported.
Scotiabank declined a request for comment.
Banks have come under increased pressure in recent years to crack down on financial crime risks. In 2019, Scotiabank’s then-chief executive officer Brian Porter said that the lender was spending about $300-million annually to combat money laundering. The comments came shortly after the federal government released its annual budget, which promised a series of measures aimed at modernizing Canada’s procedures for enforcing anti-money-laundering laws.
In early May, Toronto-Dominion Bank TDBKF said that it had terminated its US$13.4-billion takeover of First Horizon Corp. FHN-N after delayed regulatory approvals held up the deal. Media reports citing unnamed people familiar with the matter said that regulators were concerned over the Canadian lender’s anti-money laundering practices.