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$1B in fines hit Wall Street banks for misuse of WhatsApp

Businesses of all types, but especially large banks, should understand the conditions and risks of online transactions, like through Whatsapp

Woman holding Whatsapp app open on iphone

A recent report from Reuters identifies several U.S. banks that are facing fines from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It’s anticipated that almost $1 billion could be collected from employees’ unauthorized use of WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and other apps and emails against regulatory standards.

Work-from-home culture is being blamed for employees’ use of these apps, as it’s easy to communicate through the apps. The problem is that financial institutions are required to keep a record of business-related communications to track misconduct, such as insider trading, fraud, or market manipulation.

Which banks are facing fines?

The fines regarding Whatsapp are expected to be levied by September 30, which is the end of the Government’s fiscal year. Several banks are targeted, including banks in Europe. Three fines that we currently know of include:

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JP Morgan Chase & Co.—$200 million

Morgan Stanley—$200 million

Bank of America—$200 million

Citi and Goldman Sachs are also targeted. British bank Barclays came to an agreement to pay $200 million to the U.S. regulators also.

Why should small businesses care about these fines?

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Last year, The American Genius reported on the IRS cracking down on business transactions over $600. The federal government is showing a propensity toward enforcing how money flows. The workarounds that big and small businesses are using aren’t going to keep working.

Big Brother may not currently be targeting small organizations, but what they are learning in targeting big banks will help them learn how to take action against smaller businesses. Don’t think that the government is going to let businesses avoid taxes and other regulations by using private email accounts and other messaging tools.

Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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