Federal Banking Agencies Issue Answers to FAQs About Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Other AML Considerations | Practical Law

Federal Banking Agencies Issue Answers to FAQs About Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Other AML Considerations | Practical Law

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of the Treasury (FinCEN), Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about suspicious activity reports (SARs) and other anti-money laundering (AML) considerations for institutions subject to SAR rules. These agencies issued the FAQs to provide clarity to industry questions about SAR filing requirements and compliance processes.

Federal Banking Agencies Issue Answers to FAQs About Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Other AML Considerations

by Practical Law Finance
Published on 22 Jan 2021USA (National/Federal)
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of the Treasury (FinCEN), Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about suspicious activity reports (SARs) and other anti-money laundering (AML) considerations for institutions subject to SAR rules. These agencies issued the FAQs to provide clarity to industry questions about SAR filing requirements and compliance processes.
On January 19, 2021, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the US Department of the Treasury (FinCEN), Federal Reserve Board (FRB), Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) issued answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about suspicious activity reports (SARs) and other anti-money laundering (AML) considerations for institutions subject to SAR rules. FinCEN, the FRB, the FDIC, the OCC, and the NCUA issued the FAQs to provide clarity to industry questions about SAR filing requirements and compliance processes.
The FAQs cover:
  • A financial institution's ability to maintain an account or customer relationship if it receives a "keep open" request from law enforcement when the financial institution has identified suspicious or potentially illicit activity.
  • Whether a financial institution should file a SAR:
    • if it receives a grand jury subpoena or other law enforcement inquiry; or
    • based only on negative news.
  • Whether a financial institution should terminate a customer relationship if it files a SAR.
  • A financial institution's need to independently investigate each of multiple negative news alerts it receives based on the same event.
  • The need to repeat in a SAR narrative any information in other SAR data fields.
  • If information about a suspicious activity exceeds the SAR narrative character limit, whether a financial institution should file an additional SAR to include the excess information.