The US Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) says US banks are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain compliance professionals, particularly those who specialise in financial crime.

The financial regulator puts compliance in the top four – alongside credit, operational, and interest rate – risks for the federal banking system in its Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2019.

Compliance concerns

The report covers risks facing national banks and federal savings associations based on data as of 31 December 2018.

While the OCC has identified improvements in banks’ Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) systems it remains concerned in some areas.

BSA/AML-related deficiencies identified by the OCC include inadequate customer due diligence and enhanced due diligence, insufficient customer risk identification, and ineffective processes related to suspicious activity monitoring and reporting.

Staff shortages

Moreover, staffing compliance units is becoming difficult in some areas.

“Talent acquisition and staff retention to manage BSA/AML compliance programmes and associated operations present ongoing challenges, particularly at smaller regional and community banks,” the report says.

The OCC’s Semiannual Risk Perspective for Spring 2019 can be found here.