CUNA supports updates to FinCEN CTRs, warns of reg. burden

March 30, 2016

WASHINGTON (3/30/16)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supports most proposed changes to the layout of the Bank Secrecy Act Currency Transaction Report (BCTR). In a comment letter filed with the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), CUNA also noted that any regulatory changes--even absent additional requirements--may cause credit unions to expend time and resources to comply with a change.

CUNA also used the letter to push for greater regulatory and examination consistency among regulators, including the National Credit Union Administration, state credit union regulators and FinCEN.

“We continue to hear of instances in which different regulators and examiners interpret BSA requirements and guidance differently, which makes it difficult for credit unions to satisfy examiners and plan accordingly throughout their organizations,” the letter reads. “Greater consistency would also be helpful with the interpretation of requirements regarding BSA reports.”

CUNA also encouraged FinCEN to increase the BCTR threshold to $20,000 from the $10,000 level established decades ago, and to at least double other key thresholds, such as the $3,000 trigger for reporting wire transfers and $5,000 threshold for filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR).

BCTRs are used by financial institutions to report transactions of more than $10,000 occurring in a single day by or on behalf of one person. The reports are accessible to law enforcement investigating money laundering, terrorist financing or other financial-based crimes.

Since publishing a revised BCTR in March 2011, FinCEN has become aware that the current report is not configured to allow for alternative reporting models that have developed in recent years, such as reports filed by a parent company. In addition, the current form was not designed to record different filing and transaction locations.

CUNA supports FinCEN’s objective of improving the tracking of money laundering and terrorist financing, but has a number of comments regarding the proposed changes.

Those include:

  • Supporting the addition of a new part to the form to record the entity actually filing the report through the BSA E-Filing System. CUNA believes including the transacting location on the form will make research easier if more information is needed after the BCTR has been filed;
  • Supporting the proposed definition of “teller,” which is “an individual employed by a covered financial institution that accepts currency in the normal course of business at the covered financial institution,” which CUNA believes may provide clarity to nonbank financial institutions; and
  • Commenting about the change to specify the filing institution. One of the reasons FinCEN cited for proposing changes to the BCTR is that it is becoming less frequent that BCTRs are being filed by the financial institution where the transaction occurred. However, it is common for credit unions participating in shared branching to file the BCTR at the credit union where the transaction occurred, and to notify the member’s credit union that a report was filed. CUNA noted that such information sharing could prove useful to the member’s credit union for purposes of tracking, looking for patterns, and possible SAR filing.