SEATTLE, WA – On Tuesday, January 10th, as part of his visit to the Seattle area, Under Secretary of the Treasury Brian E. Nelson participated in a roundtable at the office of Congressman Adam Smith to discuss the challenges facing money services businesses (MSBs) who are unable to get banking access. Congressman Smith brought together Under Secretary Nelson and local MSBs from King County and the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions for the roundtable.

“Money service businesses make it possible for people here in Ninth District and around the country to send money to family and loved ones abroad, providing a lifeline to millions of people and communities around the world. The lack of access to banking services for MSBs is a dangerous problem that I have worked to address with stakeholders in the community for years. Not being able to obtain banking services increases costs and makes it incredibly difficult for these businesses to serve their customers – most often immigrant communities and communities of color. It also poses a huge public safety risk for these businesses and employees operating in cash. I appreciate the local MSBs who joined to share their stories and continue to work with my office so that we can make progress on this issue. And I thank Under Secretary Nelson for prioritizing this issue during his visit to the region. I look forward to our continued work together to advance solutions on behalf of MSBs in the Ninth District and across the country.”

See below for a recap of the de-risking roundtable.

Under Secretary Nelson, the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions, and local MSBs gathered for a conversation about the hurdles that many MSBs face in finding a bank that will serve them. MSB owners shared their stories about the challenges of obtaining banking services and the risks that it poses to their businesses and customers to be unbanked. Throughout the discussion, the MSBs made it clear that the lack of access to banking services is not only a financial obstacle, but a broader issue of racial equity, national security, and public safety. The Treasury Department will be releasing its National De-Risking Strategy with recommendations to tackle these challenges in the coming weeks, and Under Secretary Nelson shared that participating in this conversation and hearing these perspectives will help him as he prepares the report. The de-risking strategy being developed by Treasury was required as part of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act.

In January 2022, Congressman Smith sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) urging them to address the lack of banking access for MSBs. More information about that letter can be found here.