The Office of Foreign Assets Control oversees economic sanctions programs that the U.S. Government has put in place against other nations, groups, and individuals. While most bankers may rarely come across any party under sanctions, there are good reasons for everyone in the banking industry to complete OFAC training. Here's what it can do for you.
1. Avoid Penalties Due to Non-Compliance
First and most importantly, bankers can't simply plead ignorance if they're party to a transaction that violates sanctions. Just as a driver who claims they didn't know the speed limit is still speeding if they go over the legal maximum speed, a banker who violates sanctions is still in violation even if they were unaware of the infraction.
Therefore, you should be familiar with sanctions and what constitutes a violation if you work as a banker—and the best way to learn about the relevant issues is through OFAC training. Should someone try to use you to make an illegal transaction, the material you learn during training could help keep you out of trouble with OFAC.
2. Gain Access to More Jobs within the Industry
Second, upon completion of an OFAC training course, you may gain access to more jobs within the banking industry. While there are plenty of banking positions where an employee is unlikely to ever see a situation with an OFAC sanctions infraction, there also are plenty of positions where employees do see people try to make prohibited transactions. These latter positions may require OFAC training, for banks need employees who know what to watch for in these roles.
You'll qualify for any jobs that require OFAC training only after you complete a necessary course. Until you finish a course, the positions available to you will be more limited.
3. Know How to Handle Potential Infractions
Recognizing a potential OFAC sanctions infraction is just part of your responsibility if you ever do come across an infraction. You also need to know how to handle the situation. You need to know what you're able to do, what your not able to do, and what you're required to report (if anything). An OFAC training course will cover how to handle potential infractions, so you can navigate dicey or even illegal requests with confidence.
Gain Certificate or Continuing Education Credits
If you're pursuing a certificate or need continuing education credits, an OFAC training program might qualify as an approved course. Your professional organization can tell you whether a program qualifies.