Showing 52 posts by William T. Repasky.
On April 17, 2018, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman (the “NY AG”) launched the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” (the “Initiative”), a fact-finding inquiry into the policies and practices of platforms used by consumers to trade virtual currencies like bitcoin and ether. Read More ›
Many entrepreneurs and existing companies exploring opportunities in the fintech space often experience the daunting hurdles, or uncertainties, imposed by state-level regulations. Under traditional regulatory programs, the licensing process can take months and consume tens of thousands of dollars in fees, compliance costs, and legal expenses. Some startups, with thin capital reserves, face the Hobson’s Choice of blatant non-compliance or simply avoiding innovating in this important space all together. Either way, the state’s consumers and businesses are ultimately disadvantaged. The State of Arizona recognized this common problem and very recently passed legislation to safely encourage such worthwhile business innovation. Read More ›
The traditional ATM is a truly ubiquitous part of our culture. Although the first American ATM was not installed until the fall of 1969 in New York City, most Americans, regardless of geography, probably cannot imagine life without the ease and convenience they provide. And this story is now likely to be repeated with Bitcoin ATMs. Read More ›
Most businesses must deal with federal, state, and local laws and regulations from time to time. Operators of Bitcoin ATMs are no different. For such operators, the primary regulations arise out of the federal Bank Secrecy Act (the “BSA”), as discussed below, and the state-level money transmitter laws are discussed in another article. Read More ›
Depending on the state where the Bitcoin ATM operator sets up the business, the operator may – or may not – need to comply with that state’s laws, regulations and/or licensing. For operators, the primary state-level matters of concern are typically its state or states of operation’s money transmitter laws. Read More ›
As previously discussed, Bitcoin ATMs are a growing industry, offering consumers great flexibility in exchanging Bitcoin tokens for cash, or purchasing Bitcoin tokens for cash, via standalone kiosks. Many merchants are starting to get on-board with owning, or leasing space to, Bitcoin ATMs as a way to serve an expanding market. Read More ›
On Wednesday, April 26, the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (the “CSBS”) filed suit against the Office of the Comptroller and Currency and its Comptroller Thomas J. Curry (collectively, the OCC”) over Curry’s December 2016 announcement that the OCC has created a new national bank charter for non-bank companies (the “Non-Bank Charter Rule”). This Non-Bank Charter Rule, the complaint alleges, will pull chartered non-bank companies into the national banking regulatory system, and will preempt and replace state-based banking regulation, licensing, and supervisory responsibility of state authorities. Read More ›
A Cautionary Tale for Money Service Businesses: How Violating the Bank Secrecy Act Could Cost Millions
On February 27, 2017, The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) fined Merchants Bank of California (“Merchants”) $7 million for what it called “egregious” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency simultaneously assessed a $1 million civil monetary penalty against Merchants because it violated two previous consent orders. Merchants is a community bank located in Carson City, California. The Bank had a large portfolio of Money Service Businesses (“MSBs”) customers. MSBs are generally recognized by federal regulators to include: (1) currency dealers or exchangers; (2) check cashers; (3) issuers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; (4) sellers or redeemers of traveler’s checks, money orders, or stored value; and (5) money transmitters. In Merchants’ case, it had 165 check-cashing and 44 money-transmitter customers, who often operated at great distances from the Bank. Compounding the situation was the fact that Bank insiders owned or managed a number of the MSB customers. Read More ›
Should state Attorney General’s (AG’s) intrude in the private market place to influence the choice consumers and merchants’ make as to the type of payments they will prefer for credit card transactions? By any account, those are complicated business decisions involving complex cost, risk, marketing, technology and personal preference issues, which are often unique to each business’s situation. But nonetheless, this is exactly what nine Attorneys General recently did. Read More ›
Many banks are now evaluating the pros and cons of using the new “.bank” domain. For those not already in the know, rather than continuing to use the generic “.com” domain, qualifying banks can soon switch to a more descriptive .bank top-level domain name. For example, a bank’s website address might read www.XYZinstitution.bank, rather than www.XYZinstitution.com; and its emails name.employee@XYZinstitution.bank. In 2012, fTLD Registry Services, LLC (formed by the Financial Services Roundtable and the American Bankers Association) applied to ICANN for the right to issue and manage the .bank generic top-level domain names. On September 25, 2014, fTLD was granted these rights, and it promptly established a roll-out schedule for the issuance of the .bank domain name. For those few financial institutions who hold registered trademarks in their names, open enrollment began last Sunday, May 17, 2015. For all the other banks, those without registered trademarks, general availability enrollment will begin at 8:00 pm, EDT, on June the 23rd. Read More ›
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William T. Repasky practices with the Litigation Department at Frost Brown Todd. He focuses on lending and commercial services; banking litigation and financial institutions.