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The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued a press release announcing a civil money penalty for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act against Eric Powers, an individual who acted as a peer-to-peer virtual currency exchanger. The enforcement action is the first-ever penalty assessed by FinCEN against a peer-to-peer virtual currency exchanger. Our alert discusses this recent action by FinCEN and its implications. Read our client alert.…
The California Department of Business Oversight (“DBO”) has issued an Invitation for Comments relating to the scope of the “agent of a payee” exemption under the Money Transmission Act, Cal. Fin. Code § 2000 et seq. Comments are due on April 9. According to the DBO, it is seeking comments because it intends to develop regulations to “clarify the applicability” of the exemption. Read our client alert.…
The payments and money transmission regulatory landscape continues to evolve.  A key new development is that Michigan has affirmed by legislation that “agent of a payee” transactions meeting certain criteria are not subject to regulation under the state’s money transmission licensing law. However, the California Department of Business Oversight (the “DBO”), which regulates money transmission in California, continues to scrutinize the scope of what constitutes payee-agency activity exempt from money transmission licensing.  In light of…
One of the most important questions facing non-bank providers of payments services is whether they are subject to regulation under U.S. state money transmission laws. Though almost all U.S. states regulate money transmitters, there are a number of states that provide exemptions for entities that act as an agent of the payee. While a small handful of states have had long-standing agent of the payee exemptions, California more recently addressed the applicability of a money…
The Banking Department of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation recently entered into a consent order with a money transmission licensing applicant. The consent order makes it clear that “Vermont does not exempt a payment processor or an agent of a payee from [money transmission] licensure.” Vermont’s position is at odds with the recent trend of state banking departments affirming that payee agency or payment processing transactions involving the sale of goods or services are…
Yesterday, the Office of the South Carolina Attorney General issued a press release announcing that it has created a Money Services Division within the AG’s office and that, effective May 14, the Division is accepting applications for licensure under South Carolina’s money transmission law. This law, officially known as the South Carolina Anti-Money Laundering Act, will formally take effect on May 25, the date the regulations promulgated to implement the Act are scheduled to be…
One of the defining aspects of the payments revolution of the past few years—at least from a regulatory perspective—has been the question of whether a particular payments service is subject to regulation as money transmission. A number of states have determined that under certain conditions, state money transmission licensing laws do not apply to services provided as an agent of the payee. The most recent states to affirm this are Hawaii and Connecticut. Read our client
The massive Equifax breach continues to prompt responses from a wide-range of regulators. While this is not surprising in light of the scale and nature of the incident, a number of regulators are taking more aggressive and more public actions in just a short time following public announcement of the breach. While there is a long history of various regulators taking action following high-profile breaches, the speed of the regulatory response has been unique when…
On December 28, 2016, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) released a significantly revised version of its controversial, proposed cybersecurity rules, initially proposed in September of last year. As we noted in our Client Alert at that time, the rules as originally proposed would have created one of the most comprehensive and detailed cybersecurity standards in the country, and would have created significant compliance and implementation challenges. As a result, the original…
On September 13, 2016, the New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) proposed cybersecurity rules that, if finalized in their current form, would create one of the most comprehensive, detailed and onerous cybersecurity standards in the country. While the proposed rules would apply only to financial institutions subject to the NYDFS’s authority under New York law, this proposal is important for all companies. It highlights a trend that legislatures and regulators are revisiting decades-old…