Steamboat bank informing business customers about new government rules
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A local bank is sending out more than 2,000 emails and letters to inform its commercial customers about a new federal rule that will require them to disclose more information about who owns the businesses.
“This is affecting every bank in the country, and it’s the biggest change to the Bank Secrecy Act since 9/11,” Yampa Valley Bank Senior Vice President Lori St. Pierre said.
St. Pierre believes some commercial account holders might consider the new rules an invasion of their privacy.
“People are more protective of their information,” St. Pierre said. “They don’t want to give you more than they have to.”
The new rule under the Bank Secrecy Act is a further attempt by the government to prevent money laundering, combat terrorism and other national security threats.
The new rule goes into effect May 11. It will require business entities to disclose to banks the name, physical address, date of birth and taxpayer identification number for each person that has 25 percent or more ownership in the company. Banks will also collect information about one person who has significant managerial control of the company.
“All banks are going to have to comply with it,” St. Pierre said.
In addition to privacy concerns, there are other concerns being expressed by the banking industry, including Credit Union National Association.
The association wrote on its website that it supports the government’s efforts to combat security threats, but the association was concerned that the additional costs associated with complying with the rules would outweigh the benefits.
St. Pierre said banks will not be responsible for making sure the information provided by business account holders is correct. People will have to certify that the information they provided is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.
The rules affect new accounts but can also apply to existing accounts if there is a triggering event, such as a change to the signers on the account.
Yampa Valley Bank is suggesting that customers who want to open a new business account complete the business account application, gather identification from the business owners and bring documentation showing what type of business being opened.
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