Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

On January 19, 2021, the Federal Reserve Board, FDIC, OCC, FinCEN, and NCUA (collectively, the “federal agencies”) issued answers to frequently asked questions (“FAQs”) regarding suspicious activity reports (“SARs”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) considerations for financial institutions subject to SAR requirements in response to recent recommendations from the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group. The FAQs state that they are intended to assist financial institutions with their AML compliance obligations, and do not have the force of law or create any new supervisory expectations.
Continue Reading Federal Agencies Jointly Release Responses to FAQs on SARs and Other AML Considerations

On January 1, 2021, the United States Congress enacted the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (the “AMLA”), as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “Act”).  The AMLA includes extensive and fundamental reforms to anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws in the United States, including the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”).

In a previous client alert,

On January 1, 2021, the Senate voted to override President Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act (the “NDAA” or “Act”), which includes over 200 pages of significant reforms to the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”) and other anti-money laundering (“AML”) laws that have been working their way through Congress for several years.  The Senate’s

On February 27, 2019, the CFPB announced the release of a report identifying key facts, trends, and patterns in elder financial exploitation and abuse.  The Bureau’s report is based on an analysis of 180,000 Suspicious Activity Reports (“SARs”) filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) by banks, credit unions, and other financial services providers

Representatives of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) testified on Thursday, November 29 before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (“Banking Committee”) on anti-money laundering (“AML”) issues.

The testimony highlighted some tensions between the views of the different regulators, with the OCC appearing to be supportive of providing some regulatory relief to financial institutions, while FinCEN continues to see the value of the current requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”). Coming on the heels of reports that a bipartisan group of Senators are working on BSA reform legislation, the testimony revealed that FinCEN at least may prove reluctant to support some of the proposed reforms.


Continue Reading Senate Testimony Highlights Tensions in BSA/AML Reform Efforts as Lawmakers Consider Bipartisan Legislation

On October 25, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an Advisory to financial institutions to (i) clarify reporting requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) for filing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) on cyber-attacks and cyber-enabled crimes, (ii) note what information financial institutions should include in such reports, and (iii) encourage financial institutions to share information on cyber-attacks within the institution itself, with other banks, and with FinCEN and other regulators as appropriate.  The Advisory states that it is not designed to change current law.

Continue Reading FinCEN Issues Advisory on Suspicious Activity Reporting Requirements for Cyber-attacks Under the Bank Secrecy Act