Patterns of Abuse: Are Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Failures at U.S. Banks an Issue of Political Will?

March 6th, 2013

Global Financial Integrity Issues Statement in Advance of Thursday Morning’s Senate Banking Hearing on Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Failures

WASHINGTON, DC – In the wake of recent money laundering compliance failures at major U.S. and international banks, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs is currently scheduled to hold a hearing tomorrow, Thursday, March 7, 2013 entitled, “Patterns of Abuse: Assessing Bank Secrecy Act Compliance and Enforcement.” Heather Lowe, Legal Counsel and Director of Government Affairs at Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization, issued the following statement in advance of the hearing:

“As recent events demonstrate, there is clearly a problem with anti-money laundering compliance, at least with respect to large banks, in the U.S. banking system. We have repeatedly seen that some financial institutions are simply not putting the legally required controls in place to prevent money laundering.

“The bigger issues, however, are whether this is a systemic problem and whether we have the resources and political will necessary to make that determination and root out the bad actors.  Otherwise, it would appear that the U.S. banking system is open to business for criminals looking to launder their money.

“Thursday’s hearing gives Senators the opportunity to ask regulators whether the shortcomings in anti-money laundering compliance and enforcement stem from a lack of resources and/or regulatory coordination failures, or whether this is an issue of political will.

“We hope this hearing will give Congress and the public a better understanding of where the failures are occurring and why.”

Tomorrow’s hearing is scheduled to take place from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM in room 538 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC.

To schedule an interview with Ms. Lowe or other GFI spokespersons, contact Clark Gascoigne at On-camera spokespersons are available in Washington, DC.


Notes to Editors:

  • Click here for details on tomorrow’s U.S. Senate Banking Committee hearing.
  • Click here to read Ms. Lowe’s op-ed for the Thomson Reuters Foundation, “Money Laundering and HSBC – How it affects you,” published January 10, 2013.


Clark Gascoigne
+1 202-293-0740 ext.222


Global Financial Integrity (GFI) is a Washington, DC-based research and advocacy organization which promotes transparency in the international financial system as a means to global development.

For additional information please visit


Written by Global Financial Integrity

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