Joe Biden has certainly been busy since taking the oath of office as president just over a week ago, seeking to undo as much of the American carnage wrought by his predecessor as possible with the stroke of a pen. He’s sought to reverse Donald Trump’s environmental, diplomatic, propagandistic, racial, ethical, pandemic-exacerbating and other policies through a raft of executive orders, memoranda, instruments, beseechings, proclamations and directives.
One of the very first, indeed on his very first day in office, was a memorandum putting on ice any new or pending regulations. This makes sense: While Biden’s team is sharpening its regulatory knives, Trump’s was more keen on ignoring them while setting fire to whatever rules it could get its hands on. This was especially true in the waning weeks, months, days and hours of the Trump administration, as it dawned on many of his team that they were not long for their jobs and it was now or never to rush through whatever ill-considered or craven giveaways to industry and middle fingers to the public good that they could. Those are the ones being withdrawn or postponed by Biden.
Of course, sweeping measures usually have a handful of unintended consequences. In this case, those include putting the brakes on one of the rare tougher rules to emerge from the last four years, the result of an embarrassing leak and promulgated by one of the tiny handful of members of the Trumpian regulatory establishment capable of shame.
FinCEN and the Fed in October proposed rules requiring financial institutions to collect and pass along sender and receiver details on a broader scope of transactions. The agencies proposed an amendment to anti-money-laundering rules that would require financial institutions to collect, retain and transmit to other institutions certain information related to international transfers and transmittals of funds above $250, down from $3,000. The agency said the so-called travel rule would preserve an information trail that would later help law enforcement and regulators investigate and prosecute illicit activities…. FinCEN in December proposed another rule that would require banks and cryptocurrency trading platforms to keep records of a customer’s cryptocurrency transactions and counterparties, including verification of their identities, for any transactions exceeding $3,000.
The pause, at least, on the rules is welcome to banks and the like, who weren’t particularly happy about the additional compliance burden they’d impose. Of course, they’ll be kept busy by other AML matters in the interim.