OCC issues cease and desist order against Anchorage Digital over AML program


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The US’s national bank regulator is not happy with Anchorage Digital’s know-your-customer (KYC) program.

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On April 21, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) released a consent order, citing what it called Anchorage Digital’s lax compliance with KYC and anti-money laundering provisions. 

“The OCC holds all nationally chartered banks to the same high standards, whether they engage in traditional or novel activities,” said acting comptroller of the currency Michael J. Hsu. “When institutions fall short, we will take action and hold them accountable to ensure compliance with federal laws and regulations.”

The order requires Anchorage to instate a bank secrecy officer to preside over its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act, the backbone of AML and KYC programs in the US. It also mandates the creation of a compliance committee of at least three members and a review of existing high-risk clients. 

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A consent order usually means that both parties ⁠— in this case, the OCC and Anchorage Digital ⁠— have reached an agreement as to steps forward. Per the order, Anchorage “has begun corrective action and is committed to taking all necessary and appropriate steps to remedy the deficiencies identified by the OCC.”

Anchorage has operated under a conditional national bank charter from the OCC since early January, issued under Brian Brooks, who was at the time acting comptroller of the currency. The nature of that charter means that Anchorage is operating under a sort of probationary status. Since Michael Hsu took over the position the OCC has not issued any more such charters. 

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