I am a tiny Western Union competitor in a specific remittance market (US & Philippines). I am licensed (NJ) foreign money remitter. My clients funds are transferred from a NJ bank to a Philippine bank through SWIFT.
After 9/11, foreign money remittance businesses are scrutinize minutely in the War on Terror by federal and state regulators under USA Patriot Act, BSA and AML laws. Commercial banks, unable to establish monitoring system for foreign money remittance accounts close or do not accept remittance accounts.
Maybe exposure by NY Times on this previously secret monitoring will illucidate banks that FBI have other ways and means to tract terrorist finances and reinstate my business account as a small foreign money remitter.
BoA are you paying attention?
The F.B.I. began acquiring financial records from Western Union and its parent company, the First Data Corporation. Using what officials described as individual, narrowly framed subpoenas and warrants, the F.B.I. has obtained records from First Data, which processes credit and debit card transactions, to track financial activity and try to locate suspects.
Similar subpoenas for the Western Union data allowed the F.B.I. to trace wire transfers, mainly outside the United States, and to help Israel disrupt about a half-dozen possible terrorist plots there by unraveling the financing, an official said.
NY Times article here. (registration required)