Screening Product for OFAC Compliance Available

February 28, 2003

First American CREDCO is offering an Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) alert feature that allows those accessing credit reports to automatically screen customers against a list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons when requesting a credit report.

Under the Trading With the Enemy and International Emergency Economic Powers acts and the regulations set by OFAC, it is illegal to facilitate a financial transaction with anyone labeled an SDN or Blocked Person. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in criminal prosecution and fines of up to $10 million. The SDN list is publicly available. However, it is very difficult and labor intensive to manually search against this extensive and regularly changing list.

First American CREDCO is one of many services offering this type of product.

CREDCO’s customers can choose to receive OFAC alerts from any of the three national credit bureaus (Equifax┬«, Experian┬«, and TransUnion) automatically with any credit report. Alerts are based on a database search of more than 5,000 names maintained by OFAC.

A “hit” message is delivered with the credit report whenever a match has been found. While the OFAC alert is delivered along with the credit report, it is not part of the report and cannot be used as a factor in determining a consumer’s credit-based insurance score.

OFAC is the branch of the U.S. Department of the Treasury responsible for enforcing national security policies related to the Treasury Department. OFAC has the authority to exact control over financial transactions occurring under US jurisdiction.

The Treasury Department is still drafting regulations related to how life and annuity insurers will have to enforce provisions of the PATRIOT Act, including monitoring the behavior patterns of customers for signs of possible terrorist money-laundering.

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