2 California Banks Will Pay Federal Fines

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Associated Press

Two of the nation’s largest banks have agreed to pay civil penalties to settle violations of a law requiring reporting of large currency transactions, the Treasury Department announced today.

The department said that Security Pacific National Bank of Los Angeles agreed to pay a fine of $605,000 to cover more than 2,400 violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, which requires banks to report cash transactions exceeding $10,000.

Wells Fargo Bank of San Francisco agreed to a fine of $75,000 for failing to report more than 300 violations, the department said.


Security Pacific is the nation’s seventh-largest bank and Wells Fargo ranks 10th, based on deposits as of Dec. 31.

18 Banks Cited

The latest settlements brought to 18 the number of banks which have been cited for violating the reporting law, which is designed to track efforts by criminals to move large sums of cash.

On Jan. 21, the Bank of America was fined a record $4.75 million for committing 17,000 violations of the Bank Secrecy Act, eclipsing a $2.25-million fine levied against Crocker National Bank in August, 1985.

The department said it had uncovered no evidence that either bank cited today had engaged in criminal activities in connection with the violations and both banks had cooperated fully in the investigation.

60 Confessed

In the last year, more than 60 banks have come forward voluntarily to discuss past violations.

Francis A. Keating II, assistant Treasury secretary for enforcement, said officials were encouraging other banks to come forward.


“Treasury has not yet closed the door to volunteers,” he said, but he warned, “Treasury is now turning its attention to identifying banks with past violations which have not come forward to Treasury voluntarily. Such banks will be dealt with substantially more severely.”