Money Laundering, Terrorism and Financial Institutions - USA Patriot Act Monitor

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2/13/2006 MSB Registration Guidance Posted by FinCEN
A check casher is required to register as a money services business, using Form 107, if it cashes checks totaling more than $1,000 for any one customer on any day. The Inspector General, in an audit report released last fall, concluded that information provided on FinCEN’s website could be misleading some check cashers into thinking that they do not need to register, when in fact they do. FinCEN responded to the Inspector General’s audit, saying that additional guidance on MSB registration would be released soon, and a guidance memo was posted on FinCEN’s website on February 3. The guidance indicates that a check casher need only exceed the threshold on a single day to qualify as an MSB, which would require it to register. If the check casher implemented written policies and procedures to assure that the threshold is not exceeded again, it would not have to renew its registration after the registration had expired.  The guidance, however, states that if an MSB “did not register, and has implemented written policies and procedures to cease being defined as a money services business, it should not register for its past performance as a money services business.” Given the rampant non-registration of check cashers and other MSBs, noted in the IG’s audit, it must be wondered how many check cashers that only occasionally exceed the $1,000/customer/day threshold will see this guidance as a green light for not registering at all.  This and several FinCEN guidance releases will be discussed in the April issue of the Monitor.

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