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Three big reasons to join your local/regional ACAMS chapter

By: Jenny Morrison, VP Senior Risk Manager, and Kristina Davis, BSA/AML Investigator

Credit unions are encouraged to join the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) and the regional chapter closest to you, as ACAMS is a well-known, worldwide organization that provides its members with many informative training resources. ACAMS’ chapters assist with ongoing education and learning opportunities to increase skills in the field of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combatting terrorist financing. Here are a few specific reasons to join your local/regional ACAMS chapter if you haven’t already.

#1 - Regular and ongoing training

All BSA/AML professionals require regular and ongoing training, and training is one of the five pillars of an adequate BSA/AML compliance program. In the FFIEC BSA/AML Examination Manual (Manual), “Training for appropriate personnel,” is among the minimum requirements for a compliant BSA/AML program. The Manual goes on to state, “The BSA compliance officer should receive periodic training that is relevant and appropriate given changes to regulatory requirements as well as the activities and overall BSA/AML risk profile of the [credit union].”

In addition, “Training should be ongoing and incorporate current developments and changes to the BSA and any related regulations.” For example, given the May 11, 2018, implementation of Beneficial Ownership, most of the ACAMS chapters have provided expert training and guidance on the new regulation. Expect that each chapter will continue to bring practical experience to their membership as our regulators begin to examine our peers with the new regulation in place.

#2 - Networking and career development

The goals of the regional chapters include education, networking, and career development for ACAMS members in the respective regions. Events bring industry experts, members of the law enforcement community, and academia together to promote further development in the subject matter. Chapter events also allow members opportunities to acquire CAMS credit(s) for to meet the continuing education requirements required to maintain a CAMS certification. But the meetings are not in any way exclusive to CAMS certified professionals.

The regional chapter meetings also provide a meaningful platform where BSA/AML professionals can interact with regulators and law enforcement. One of the best ways to learn to write a great Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) is to hear from the law enforcement users of the SAR directly on what makes a SAR compelling enough to work on!

#3 - Industry advocacy opportunities

Another reason Corporate One encourages its credit union members to join ACAMS and the regional ACAMS chapter closest to them is because credit unions are often under-represented among the members of ACAMS chapters. Credit unions play a critical role in combatting money laundering and terrorist financing, consistent with our credit union mission. Credit unions also have unique staffing and membership challenges, and ACAMS chapters provide a platform for industry advocacy, such as what was just achieved via Senate Bill 2155, providing regulatory relief.