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Fed Removes Enforcement Action on State Street

The Federal Reserve has lifted an enforcement action it placed on State Street (NYSE: STT) back in 2015 after it found deficiencies with the bank's compliance risk management program, the agency said today.

Specifically, the deficiencies were found regarding internal controls, customer due diligence procedures, and transaction monitoring processes related to the bank's anti-money-laundering (AML) and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) systems.

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AML laws are put into place so criminals can't use banks to mask illegal money as legitimate income. The BSA requires banks to file reports with regulators whenever there is a suspicious cash transaction of more than $10,000.

The initial Federal Reserve enforcement action in 2015 does not specify what exactly triggered the order, but it does task State Street with improving a number of its controls and compliance processes, which likely required a lot more spending.

The Boston Business Journal at time of the enforcement action said State Street had taken a $150 million expense in the first quarter of 2015 for a legal dispute regarding indirect foreign exchange client activities.

Ross Delston, an anti-money-laundering lawyer, also told the publication at that time that it could cost State Street at least $10 million to improve its systems to get up to the Fed's standards.

M&T Bank received a similar order from the Federal Reserve in 2013, and it also took a comparable amount of time to free itself from the action.

The removal of the enforcement should bode well for State Street, a stock that has looked better relative to its peers in the banking industry in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The bank increased profits 25% year over year in the first quarter, and its stock is now only down about 14% from the start of 2020.

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