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Mitsubishi Asked by OCC to Improve Money Laundering Controls

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Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s (MUFG - Free Report) subsidiary MUFG Bank, Ltd., has been ordered to improve anti-money laundering controls and other compliance procedures at its U.S.-based branches by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”).

Upon conducting an examination, the U.S. regulator put forth deficiencies in the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) compliance program of MUFG Bank’s U.S. branches in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

OCC stated that the branches have shortcomings in proper internal controls, suspicious activity monitoring, foreign correspondent due diligence program, trade finance monitoring, independent audit and BSA officer staffing functions.

MUFG Bank is continuing to operate under an OCC consent order, issued in November 2017, which requires it to undertake corrective actions to improve Office of Foreign Assets Control(“OFAC”) compliance program.

Further, the bank stated in a press release that it has made several investments in the recent years to strengthen BSA/AML compliance programs. In fact, it established a Global Financial Crimes Division in New York to monitor internal controls, OFAC sanctions compliance, and anti-corruption compliance across MUFG Bank’s worldwide operations.

Also, MUFG Bank promised to remain committed to perform operations with the highest levels of integrity and continue making efforts at strengthening its regulatory compliance.

In early February, MUFG entered into a joint venture with Akamai Technologies (AKAM - Free Report) to form a new entity — the Global Open Network, Inc. (“GO-NET”). The companies plan to offer a new blockchain-based payment network through GO-NET.

The new payment network is expected to be made available in Japan in the first half of 2020. GO-NET will provide an extensive set of services, including support for existing payment-processing functions, micropayments, pay-per-use, and other developing IoT-enabled payment transactions.

Our Take

Mitsubishi UFJ’s strong capital position keeps it well poised to undertake expansion strategies. Also, its intention to enter profitable business operations bode well for the long term. However, net interest income continues to remain under pressure due to unfavorable interest rates.

The stock has lost 3.7% over the past three months.

Currently, Mitsubishi carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Stocks to Consider

M&T Bank Corporation (MTB - Free Report) has witnessed nearly 3.6% upward estimate revisions for the current year over the past 60 days. Moreover, this Zacks #2 Ranked (Buy) stock has rallied more than 2% in the past three months.

First Business Financial Services (FBIZ - Free Report) has witnessed slight upward estimate revisions for the current year over the past 30 days. Further, the company’s shares have gained more than 6% over the past three months. At present, it holds a Zacks Rank of 2

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