USAA fined $140 million for willfully failing to implement anti-money laundering laws, federal regulators say

Federal regulators have fined USAA Federal Savings Bank $140 million for willfully violating the Bank Secrecy Act, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced Friday.

FinCEN said the bank admitted it “willfully failed to implement and maintain an anti‑money laundering (AML) program that met the minimum requirements of the BSA from at least January 2016 through April 2021.”

USAA admitted it failed to report thousands of suspicious transactions done by customers, including those using personal accounts for “apparent criminal activity.”

“Today’s action signals that growth and compliance must be paired, and AML (anti‑money laundering) program deficiencies, especially deficiencies identified by federal regulators, must be promptly and effectively addressed,” said Himamauli Das, acting director of FinCEN.

FinCEN says the bank will pay a total of $140 million to the U.S. Treasury. The total came from fines imposed by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and FinCEN, which were $60 million and $80 million, respectively.

USAA issued the following statement to KSAT 12 News:

“This occurred because we did not sufficiently strengthen the capabilities and expertise necessary to meet BSA/AML requirements. We are working cooperatively with the OCC and will continue to do so.

“‘While the issues identified in these orders did not result in any individual member harm, we understand the importance of these requirements. Compliance is a top and urgent priority that is fundamental to providing our members with the highest level of service,’ USAA CEO Wayne Peacock said. ‘USAA has already made progress in many critical areas by investing in new systems and training, enhancing staffing and expertise, and improving our processes. And we have an unwavering commitment to the military community.’”