SAR, CTR modernization should be part of BSA updates

February 14, 2022

CUNA strongly supports the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) efforts to conduct a review of the Bank Secrecy Act and provided several examples of burdens it places on credit unions in comments filed Monday. FinCEN issued the review to solicit comment on how to streamline, modernize, and update anti-money laundering (AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements in the Bank Secrecy Act.

“The burdens created by BSA framework and the AML/CFT regime are significant. These requirements often impose significant compliance cost related to software and staffing, and consume large quantities of staff time, especially where manual processes are involved,” the letter reads. . Given the tremendous expenditure of resources, it is reasonable and appropriate for FinCEN to conduct this review, and future reviews on a regular basis.”

CUNA notes that Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) should be modernized, as they are among the most “burdensome and time consuming” for all BSA/AML programs.

This includes the thresholds for filing CTRs and SARs, which are the same amount as when the BSA was enacted in 1972. CUNA supports legislation—the Financial Reporting Threshold Modernization Act—which would raise CTR and SAR reporting thresholds.

The letter also recommends FinCEN:

  • Issue information on what information from SARs are most useful to law enforcement.
  • SAR and CTR forms should combined into one form and submitted to a single place.
  • Revisit the requirement to file marijuana limited SARs.
  • Update its guidance to clearly and concisely state 314(b) communication can be shared for all suspected financial crimes and BSA violations.