These changes have created the need for new regulations and risk mitigation efforts by institutions and organizations subject to AML. For example, online application processes, along with other recent innovations, present potential risks that require careful and thoughtful consideration. Applications that are not processed face-to-face provide a layer of anonymity and RMLOs are required to reasonably ensure they know the true identity of an applicant.
A number of regulatory changes and modification of existing rules – whether from FinCEN, OFAC, CFPB or others – require close attention. Fine-tuning of systems, training and other compliance program elements is essential.
RMLOs often use the services of third-party providers to conduct certain aspects of processing, such as credit or background checks. Some third-party providers have AML capabilities such as OFAC screening. If your RMLO relies on suppliers to perform any AML processes, whether verification of identity or OFAC screening, check your service agreement to ensure that responsibilities are clearly described. Reliance must be clearly stated in the AML compliance policies and the compliance manager or designee should provide periodic oversight over the process.
RMLOs have been required to comply with AML regulations since August 2012. So most RMLOs have compliance programs up and running and are tracking unusual activity, providing training and performing independent testing. Regulators expect compliance officers to demonstrate competency in managing all the moving parts. Compliance officers who need additional training might consider taking more specific AML training. There are industry associations that provide supporting information for RMLOs and opportunities to network with other RMLOs. We are also seeing more RMLOs attending industry conferences and training events to learn best practices in AML.
Now that RMLOs have established AML programs, they see a clearer picture of where mortgage fraud might occur. RMLOs must be aware of persons presenting fake identities, doctored employment documents and other inflated proof-of-income documentation. In combination with discrete background and credit checks, RMLOs can separate legitimate prospects from fraudsters, and can use suspicious activity reporting to report the frauds. Read more about mortgage fraud and suspicious activity reporting at http://www.fincen.gov/financial_institutions/lfc/.