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What Are Blocked Assets?

Blocked assets are imposed for a number of reasons such as trade violations, criminal or illegal activities and political reasons. Regulations imposed on foreign operations may also result in blocked funds.

Credit unions must report blocked property annually by September 30 and must keep records of blocked and rejected transactions. NAFCU blogged earlier this year on the annual reporting requirement and how to run transaction names through OFAC lists.

What is a Blocked Asset?

As the September 30 deadline for submitting the annual report of blocked property draws near, many credit unions are reminded of the multiple steps required to satisfy OFAC regulations. While title to property remains with the designated country or national, the exercise of powers and privileges normally associated with ownership is prohibited without OFAC authorization.

Blocked assets are property of foreign governments, entities, and individuals that the Treasury Department has identified as posing a threat to the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States (collectively "Specially Designated Nationals" or SDNs). The Office of Foreign Assets Control administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions against such targets.

OFAC requires that all U.S. persons, including financial institutions, report to them all transactions involving the purchase or sale of property that is blocked under any OFAC sanctions program. Generally, this includes physical or intangible property. It also includes accounts payable, invoices, contracts and other intangible items that are associated with blocked property.

What is a Blocked Account?

A blocked account is a financial account that restricts its owner’s access to and withdrawal of funds. A blocked account is often used to hold revenue deposited by a borrower and transferred through the lender’s collection accounts (as stipulated in a Block Account Control Agreement or BAA) without the borrower’s consent.

As soon as the required amount of money has been received by the organisation you have picked for your account opening, you will receive a so-called “blocking confirmation”. You have to submit this document together with your visa application or residence permit application as proof.

In many cases, students from countries outside the EU have to open a blocked account in order to prove that they have sufficient financial resources for their studies in Germany. This requirement is known as the Finanzierungsnachweis and is also one of the governmental prerequisites that have to be fulfilled. The blocked account serves to ensure that a student has the financial means to fulfill their obligations in their host country as well as to cover their living expenses during their stay.

What is a Blocked Payment Order?

Blocked payment orders are a result of a transaction or account being blocked for compliance reasons due to sanctions regulations. The funds in these accounts cannot be touched or transferred without specific, written, detailed license authorization from OFAC.

Using AI, Square can predict upcoming blocked payments and take action automatically to resolve the issue such as proactively reaching out to customers for a partial or full payment to release the blocked order. This saves time and eliminates the need for manual blocked payment resolution.

OFAC regulations require that persons who own property or interests in property blocked under various sanctions programs report to OFAC on an annual basis. These reports must include the name and address of each blocked person, as well as the reason for the block. In addition, OFAC requires that all persons file initial reports when acquiring blocked property or interests in blocked property and on an ongoing basis when dealing with such property.

What is a Blocked Rejected Transaction?

A blocked rejected transaction is any monetary transfer that a bank rejects due to an applicable OFAC sanction or prohibition. These include the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations which prohibit transactions that support commercial activities in the country, requiring that any funds transfers between American and Sudanese companies be rejected by banks in the US.

In addition, OFAC rules require that any property owned directly or indirectly by a blocked party found on the SDN list be blocked. This means that if David Guberman owns 50% of Acme Corp and 50% of Altex Manufacturing, both are considered to be blocked parties by OFAC regulations since they are both directly owned by an SDN.

Businesses and financial institutions that process funds transfers must report blocked assets and rejected transactions to OFAC within 10 business days and annually by September 30. This reporting requirement applies to all entities, not just those processing funds transfers. OFAC also requires that certain records be maintained for at least five years.