The head of an independent US agency within the US Treasury that supervises national banks has issued new statements on virtual currencies and their "potentially revolutionary" impact on banking.
In his remarks, Curry referenced the "serious challenges" the banking industry faces from terrorist and criminal organisations, and how he believes they can be combated with strong risk management and anti-money laundering (AML) and BSA compliance.
Still, he suggested that the regulation has struggled to adapt to terrorists who now have access to advanced payments innovations.
The OCC chief went on to characterize the BSA as "rooted in 20th century concepts", but framed virtual currencies as a potential ally to law enforcement in the fight against terror and criminal activity.
"It is also foreseeable that, if properly employed, technology can be used by banks and the government to better meet the goals of the BSA, by providing more accurate and timely information to law enforcement and regulators, while simultaneously reducing cost and burden," Curry added.
A former director of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Curry has served as the head of the organisation since 2012.
Plea to banks
Though not addressing virtual currency directly, Curry went on to hint at some of the operational issues the industry and others have faced when trying to forge partnerships with the traditional financial system.
For example, he noted that US banks have closed the accounts of "entire categories of consumers" based on concerns about BSA and AML compliance.
Curry went on to encourage banks to refrain from terminating customer accounts provided they can "manage their risk appropriately", asking them to instead think about how they could help lower the risk of certain consumers and companies.
Curry ended his speech by addressing the scope of the challenge and the need for broad cooperation to achieve its goals, stating:
Washington, DC image via Shutterstock
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