Ocean Bank Agrees to Pay $10.9 Million Penalty

   WASHINGTON, DC - 8/29/2011 - The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the State of Florida Office of Financial Regulation (OFR) announced on Aug. 11 the assessment of concurrent civil money penalties of $10.9 million against Ocean Bank, Miami, Fla., for violations of federal and state Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and anti-money (AML) laundering laws and regulations.
   Ocean Bank, without admitting or denying the allegations, consented to payment of the civil money penalties, which was satisfied by a single payment to the U.S. Government.
   "Effective Bank Secrecy Act/anti-money laundering programs commensurate with the risk profile of the institution is paramount in protecting our financial system and individual banks from harm," said Sandra L. Thompson, Director, Division of Risk Management Supervision. "This penalty underscores the significance for banks to have strong internal systems and controls to detect and report suspicious activity and ensure compliance with Bank Secrecy Act requirements."
    In taking these actions, the FDIC, FinCEN, and OFR determined that the bank failed to implement an effective BSA/AML Compliance Program with internal controls reasonably designed to detect and report money laundering and other suspicious activity in a timely manner. The bank failed to conduct adequate independent testing, particularly with respect to suspicious activity reporting requirements. In addition, the bank failed to sufficiently staff the BSA compliance function with appropriately trained staff to ensure compliance with BSA requirements.
   "The Bank failed to recognize and mitigate risks and report transaction activity often associated with money laundering involving direct foreign account relationships in high-risk jurisdictions, particularly Venezuela," noted FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. "The Bank's failure to respond to such risk with commensurate systems and controls was both systemic and longstanding."
    Florida Office of Financial Regulation Commissioner Tom Cardwell said the OFR will continue to monitor Ocean Bank's efforts to enhance its BSA/AML program.
     "We are confident the bank is committed to be in full compliance with the letter and spirit of the Consent Order and Agreement," Cardwell said.
   Source: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.