Blockchain and Financial Services Blog

Showing 54 posts by William T. Repasky.

Bankers, Bitcoins And the Bank Secrecy Act - A Webinar about Business Opportunities & Risks

SAVE THE DATE: August 28, 2018, at 3:00 p.m. EST

The growing importance of blockchain businesses, and particularly crypto currencies, is undeniable. Like every other important disruptive technology, think of the internet for example, there will be winners and losers among the early adopters, and serious business opportunities for “traditional” banks open to serving participants in the space. To be successful, it will be essential for crypto businesses to find financial institutions to serve their banking needs, such as the deposit of fiat money, the transfer of payments from customer and to creditors and suppliers, and potentially lending needs. But for now, while most bankers are interested, they are also worried about banking this industry of tomorrow. However, as the banking industry has proven over its long history, bankers will master the risks and rewards of servicing this new industry, and in doing so will come the capture of new sources of fee income and loan revenue. Read More ›

When is Old New: Loan Modification Under the BSA's Beneficial Owner Rule

When does a modification to or extension of a commercial loan constitute the act of opening a “new account”? This question is now more than one of semantics. Effective May 11th of 2018, the new Beneficial Owner Rule under the Bank Secrecy Act will become effective. Read More ›

New York Attorney General Launches Inquiry into Cryptocurrency Exchanges

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 ›

Arizona Creates Legislative Sandbox to Foster Fintech Business Growth

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 ›

Bitcoin ATMs: What They Are and How They Work

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 ›

A Regulatory Primer for Bitcoin ATM Operators – Federal Law & Regulations

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 ›

A Regulatory Primer for Bitcoin ATM Operators – State Law & Regulations

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 ›

Legal Issues of Owning and Operating a Bitcoin ATM Business

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 ›

Conference of State Bank Supervisors Sues U.S. Comptroller over Non-Bank Charter Rule

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 ›

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Attorney Spotlight

Vincent E. Mauer represents clients in commercial and business disputes with particular emphasis on financial institutions and instruments, including financial institution bonds, securities, insurance policies and commercial loans.

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