Nearly 70% of financial industry professionals believe the USA Patriot Act will achieve its projected goal of preventing terrorists from financing and money laundering via the U.S. financial systems, according to a recent poll by eFunds.

Only 31% are not very, or not at all, confident the legislation will deter terrorist financing. One out of three financial execs polled thinks more due diligence is needed by the staff at financial institutions to help further prevent terrorists' access to the U.S. systems. One-fifth of those polled said additional employee training is necessary.

The Patriot Act was legislation passed last October following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington to cut off terrorists' ability to attack our financial markets, as well as use them to finance more terror [see MFMN 9/9/02].

Section 326 of the Act requires financial institutions to verify the identity of any person opening a new account.

Financial firms must also maintain verification records on investors and check individuals against a list of suspected


Some ID information was previously required, but the new legislation adds to the requirements and refines existing language to ensure terrorists cannot get through obvious loopholes in the law. For example, a residential address is now required in place of just a mailing address, which could have been a P.O. Box.

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