Financial crime regulator FinCEN has asked banks to track “beneficial owners” to help law enforcement better ferret out fraud and money laundering efforts. The proposed regulation would bring a higher compliance burden for community banks, experts say.

The problem is, the information FinCEN wants banks to collect isn’t easily accessible, said Beth Moskow-Schnoll, a partner with Ballard Spahr LLP in Wilmington, Delaware. She said that while some states, such as Florida, maintain databases with the level and depth of corporate information FinCEN seems to want, others have nothing like it, which means that banks lending to companies in those states may need to expand their Internet detective skills.

“It would be great if there were an expansive database for people across the country, but without that, it’s not clear how banks could automate this (process),” Ms. Moskow-Schnoll said. “It could be fairly labor intensive.”