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Fox leaving FinCEN for Bank of America

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said today that William J. Fox, its director since Dec. 2003, is leaving to become senior compliance executive for compliance risk management at Bank of America (BofA). Fox starts at BofA on Feb. 21; he’ll be replaced as director by Deputy Director William F. Baity, effective February 4.

Under Fox, FinCEN’s entire mission changed. Originally charged with enforcing the Bank Secrecy Act, it added to its purview last February what amounts to an active intelligence operation, focused on anti-terrorist financing, and using U.S. financial institutions as its eyes and ears (see Electronic Payments Week, March 8, 2005). As part of that shift, FinCEN changed from being a bureau of the U.S. Treasury Dept. to being part of the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, headed by Treasury Undersecretary Stuart A. Levey.

Fox also oversaw the development and installation of BSA Direct, which allows selected law enforcement officers to search suspicious activity reports for evidence of financial crimes. Fox also helped create the Egmont Group, an international association of government agencies tasked with fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

When Fox reports for work at BofA in Charlotte, N.C., he’ll see some familiar faces: John J. Byrne, formerly the go-to man for money laundering-related issues at American Banker’s Association, joined BofA late last year as svp of global anti money-laundering compliance administration. Fox reports to Charles Bowman, the bank’s Principal Compliance Executive. (Contact: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, 703-905-3591)