WASHINGTON Jan 17 The U.S. Senate Banking
Committee is expected to hold a hearing soon on anti-money
laundering issues, according to people familiar with the matter,
as the area is getting more scrutiny by U.S. enforcement
authorities and regulators.
A hearing could come in early March and include testimony
from representatives of the Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency, the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department and the
Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, one source said.
U.S. regulators have been cracking down recently on lapses
at banks on their anti money-laundering controls.
The OCC and the Fed earlier this week ordered JPMorgan Chase
& Co to improve its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act
and anti-money laundering requirements after finding
deficiencies in the bank's program.
Banks are supposed to flag suspect transactions from
sanctioned countries or those from customers with ties to drug
trafficking or terrorism.
HSBC Holdings Plc agreed in December to pay $1.9
billion to settle U.S. criminal allegations that it allowed drug
cartels to move vast drug proceeds through the bank from Mexico
and other misconduct.
HSBC's misdeeds were also the subject of an extensive report
and hearing from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on
Investigations last July, which also faulted the OCC for failing
to take regulatory action sooner.
The OCC has since stepped up its efforts to detect
anti-money laundering lapses, and is expected to take action
against other top banks.
Last April, it faulted Citigroup Inc for its money
laundering compliance, though did not assess a monetary penalty
on the bank.