Beneficial Ownership Certification

Beneficial Ownership Certification Overview

The U.S. government has amended rules to require financial institutions to collect and verify specific information from businesses establishing new memberships, shares or loans. Requiring the disclosure of key individuals who own and/or control a business helps law enforcement investigate and prosecute crimes. Click here to view the Beneficial Ownership Certification form.

This requirement does not pertain to Sole Proprietorships or Business Club Associations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Westerra Credit Union asking for a beneficial ownership certification from my company?
U.S. government amended rules require all financial institutions to obtain and verify information about the beneficial owners of their business members. These rules are meant to help the government fight financial crime. Because businesses can be abused to disguise involvement in money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, corruption, fraud, and other financial crimes, requiring the disclosure of key individuals who ultimately own and/or control a business helps law enforcement.

What is the definition of a beneficial owner?
A beneficial owner is defined as any individual who owns—either directly or indirectly—25 percent or more equity interest in a business.

What is the definition of an individual with significant management responsibility?
This is the person with significant responsibility for managing the business—for example, a chief executive officer, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, managing member, general partner, president, vice president or treasurer. Generally, this is the individual who has the authority to act on behalf of the business to make decisions.

What personal information is required for each named individual on the certification?
For each person named on the certification, we are required to obtain their legal name, physical address, date of birth and social security number (SSN). If they are not a U.S. citizen, then a passport number may be provided in lieu of the SSN. Additionally, we will need a copy of a government-issued ID, like a driver’s license or passport, for verification of each named individual.

I am already a Westerra member. Do I still need to provide this information?
The beneficial ownership information is required when a new membership or share is opened, or when a new loan is obtained.

Will I need to provide this information on a regular basis?
Once Westerra has obtained a beneficial ownership certification for your business, we may ask that you confirm the information when you open additional new accounts.

What if my company is owned by another legal entity?
Indirect ownership means the business may be owned by one or more legal entities. Westerra is required to obtain information on the individual persons behind those layered entities who ultimately have the equivalent of 25 percent or more ownership of the business.

Do we need to complete a certification if there are no individuals with 25 percent or more ownership?
Yes. You would simply mark the box indicating there are no individuals with beneficial ownership and complete the section for the individual with significant management responsibility.

Who from my company should complete the certification?
The individual authorized to open the membership or share, or apply for a loan, is the person to complete the certification. The person who provides information for the certification will sign it indicating the information is accurate to the best of his or her knowledge.

What will Westerra do with this information?
Westerra is required to maintain this information as part of our records associated with the business. We treat this information with the same high level of confidentiality and security as we do all our member information.