ECCU Blog

by Mark Jones

Ministry frequently occurs outside our borders, which often means that money must be moved internationally.

When funding ministry internationally, ministries must comply with U.S trade regulations. It may seem strange to think that stateside ministries have to worry about regulations from a counterterrorism agency, but they do. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which is under the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in the Department of the Treasury, enforces sanctions on trade between U.S.organizations and foreign nationals, and with entities that could be considered as unstable. All U.S.individuals and companies must comply with OFAC regulations. Non-compliance can result in penalties, fines, and even imprisonment.

So what does it take to comply with these regulations? Here are five steps to ensure that your ministry plays by the rules when sending funds internationally:

  1. Know the rules and regulations established by OFAC. You can learn more from OFAC’s website.
  2. Understand the risks identified by OFAC for charitable organizations that deliver aid and accomplish ministry objectives internationally. The agency has developed a risk matrix that identifies higher risk factors which ministry organizations need to be aware of.
  3. Check individuals and entities you work with and send funds to against OFAC’s Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list to ensure they are not prohibited from engagement.
  4. Refer to OFAC’s Country Sanctions, which flags those that have terrorism or drug trafficking ties. Know that it is okay to fund ministry activities in these countries when you receive an approved license to do so.

Develop policies and procedures to comply with OFAC rules and regulations. Since the SDN list and Country Sanctions are being updated constantly, continual checking is required.

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