National Defense Authorization Act 2021: Landmark AML Reforms Pass Congress

January 6, 2021 - Policy Alerts

In the most consequential update to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) since the 2001 passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the United States Congress on December 11th passed a wide-ranging bill that broadens and updates the BSA and the U.S. anti- money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime, creates a national beneficial ownership reporting framework for legal persons, and fosters innovation and information-sharing.

The Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act) and its inclusion in the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) demonstrate strong bipartisan consensus in Congress. The NDAA passed both houses of Congress by wide margins, and is likely to withstand a potential veto. If it becomes law, the AML Act will launch a rulemaking and policy development process that is likely to extend over several years and will require sustained focus by the public and private sectors.

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