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Rob Rowe Posthumously Honored with First Annual ABA Distinguished Service Award for Financial Crimes


Rob Rowe, former vice president and senior counsel in the American Bankers Association’s Regulatory Compliance and Policy group, today was recognized posthumously as the recipient of the first ABA Distinguished Service Award for Financial Crimes. The award, which ABA will present annually, recognizes national leadership, initiative and accomplishment in financial crimes advocacy and compliance. It was presented during the 2022 ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference in National Harbor, Md.

Rowe passed away in October after a long and valiant battle with cancer.

“When we decided to launch the ABA Distinguished Service Award for Financial Crimes, we knew there was no one more deserving than our late colleague and friend, Rob Rowe,” said Rob Nichols, ABA president and CEO. “Rob tirelessly served the banking industry and those within the financial crimes field for more than three decades. He was a true subject matter expert and was always willing to share his knowledge and experience with others. We hope his legacy of service will be a model for other financial crimes professionals.”

Rowe began his career in banking after completing law school. He worked in a variety of capacities at Riggs National Bank and the National Bank of Washington, managing legal issues involving everything from personal trusts to commercial lending. After nearly 10 years as a banker, Rowe made the move to the world of banking trade associations where he could work as a regulatory policy advocate for the industry. He joined ABA in 1991 as an associate director within the center for legal and regulatory compliance. After nearly four years at ABA, Rowe moved to the Independent Community Bankers of America as a senior regulatory counsel. In 2008, Rowe rejoined ABA as vice president and senior counsel and was the association’s expert on Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering-related policy issues. He was a regular and popular speaker at ABA conferences, including the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference and the ABA Regulatory Compliance Conference, specialized financial crimes and compliance events, state association meetings and member webinars, as well as an instructor at ABA’s Compliance Schools. Rowe also frequently appeared in media stories on financial crimes helping to explain complex legal issues on behalf of the industry.

Rowe served for more than 25 years as a member of the Treasury Department’s Bank Secrecy Act Advisory group and for more than five years as a member of the International Banking Federation’s Financial Crimes Working Group.

“This award is a fitting tribute to Rob and all that he did for the nation’s banks during his years of service to the industry,” said Ginny O’Neill, ABA executive vice president for regulatory compliance and policy. “He was dedicated to making sure bad actors could not access the banking system to commit crimes and that the rules were as effective and efficient as possible. He leaves a lasting legacy.”

Rowe received his bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, followed by his J.D. from Boston University Law School and LLM from Georgetown University Law School.

Read more about Rob Rowe’s life and his many contributions to the banking industry.


About the American Bankers Association

The American Bankers Association is the voice of the nation’s $23.6 trillion banking industry, which is composed of small, regional and large banks that together employ more than 2 million people, safeguard $19.4 trillion in deposits and extend $12 trillion in loans.

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