House bill would ease rules on companies that send remittances to Somalia, other countries

"Remittances make up one-third of Somalia's economy, and give many Somali families the ability to put food on the table," Ellison said Wednesday. "This bill will provide financial institutions greater certainty when working with [money services businesses] and reduce the regulatory burden for MSBs.

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"We cannot solve all of the problems Somali-Americans face sending money home overnight, but we can simplify the process for both businesses and families."

Under current law, money services businesses (MSBs) that help remit money overseas must comply with both state and federal regulators. But Ellison says the lack of coordination between those two layers of bureaucracy might be preventing some banks from providing these services.

The bill lets the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), the federal regulator, rely on examinations of these companies done by state regulators, as long as state regulations say these companies must comply with FinCEN regulations.

It also aims to increase information-sharing between FinCen and anti-money laundering regulators, and seeks to limit duplicative federal and state rules.