OCC Finds Anchorage Digital Failed to Maintain Proper AML Rules

The company must appoint a compliance committee and hire a Bank Secrecy Act officer.

AccessTimeIconApr 21, 2022 at 8:43 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 21, 2022 at 9:06 p.m. UTC

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), a federal banking regulator, and Anchorage Digital, a trust company operating with an OCC trust charter, agreed to a consent order Thursday in which the regulator said Anchorage failed to meet Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements for its internal controls.

According to the order, in which Anchorage neither admits nor denies the OCC's findings, Anchorage didn't have an anti-money laundering/Bank Secrecy Act program that met federal requirements regarding customer due diligence. The company now has 15 days to create a compliance committee where a majority of members aren't Anchorage employees. That committee will oversee Anchorage's compliance with the consent order.

"As of 2021, the bank failed to adopt and implement a compliance program that adequately covers the required BSA/AML program elements, including, in particular, internal controls for customer due diligence and procedures for monitoring suspicious activity, BSA officer and staff, and training," the order said.

Anchorage, however, has already "begun corrective action and is committed to taking all necessary and appropriate steps to remedy the deficiencies identified by the OCC," the order said.

The compliance committee will have to send the OCC progress reports every 30 days, and Anchorage will have to ensure it hires an executive to oversee Bank Secrecy Act requirements as part of the consent order.

In a statement sent from an external spokesperson, Anchorage said it "is proud ... to be held to the same standards as traditional federally chartered banks.

"The findings that were recently shared by the OCC reflect areas for improvement that were identified by the OCC in 2021 in its supervisory capacity. As the OCC acknowledged in the consent order, we have already been working to strengthen the areas identified and will continue to bolster these areas, reinforcing a new, digital asset standard for internal BSA/AML controls and procedures," the statement said.

Anchorage received an OCC trust charter in January 2021, becoming the first crypto-native company to do so.

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Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Nikhilesh De is CoinDesk's managing editor for global policy and regulation. He owns marginal amounts of bitcoin and ether.

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