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Treasury Issues Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regarding Anti-Money Laundering Programs for Real Estate Closers

April 10, 2003

The Department of the Treasury has published in the Federal Register an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking [pdf] seeking information to assist Treasury in developing a rule to govern anti-money laundering compliance programs for “persons involved in real estate closings and settlements.” 68 Fed. Reg. 17569 (April 10, 2003). Section 352 of the USA PATRIOT Act requires financial institutions, which include persons involved in real estate closings, to establish anti-money laundering compliance programs. Treasury has postponed the effective date of section 352 for persons involved in real estate closings until a final rule to implement section 352 can be developed.

An Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is a frequently-used administrative device to enable an agency to gather information before attempting to craft a proposed rule. Under administrative procedure, after reviewing the comments received in response to the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Treasury will then issue a proposed rule that would also be subject to public comment. After reviewing the comments received in response to a proposed rule, Treasury would then issue a final rule.

In the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, Treasury has specifically requested information on the following questions:

  1. What are the money-laundering risks in real estate closings and settlements?
  2. How should persons involved in real estate closings and settlements be defined?
  3. Should any persons involved in real estate closings and settlements be exempted from coverage under section 352?
  4. How should the anti-money laundering program requirement for persons involved in real estate closings and settlements be structured?

In addition to these specific questions, the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking solicits comments on “all aspects of a potential regulation.” Comments are due by June 9, 2003 and should be submitted by e-mail to regcomments@fincen.treas.gov

ALTA will be filing comments.




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