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Bank Secrecy Act: Suspicious Activity Report Use Is Increasing, but FinCEN Needs to Further Develop and Document Its Form Revision Process

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To assist law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SAR) to inform the federal government of transactions related to possible violations of law or regulation. Depository institutions have been concerned about the resources required to file SARs and the extent to which SARs are used. GAO was asked to examine (1) factors affecting the number of SARs filed, (2) actions agencies have taken to improve the usefulness of SARs, (3) federal agencies' use of SARs, and (4) the effectiveness of the process used to revise SAR forms. GAO reviewed laws and agency documents; analyzed SAR filings; and interviewed representatives from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), law enforcement agencies, bank regulators, and depository institutions."
Date: February 27, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bank Secrecy Act: FinCEN and IRS Need to Improve and Better Coordinate Compliance and Data Management Efforts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "In 2005, over 16 million Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports were filed by more than 200,000 U.S. financial institutions. Enacted in 1970, BSA is the centerpiece of the nation's efforts to detect and deter criminal financial activities. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) play key roles in BSA compliance, enforcement, and data management. GAO was asked to describe FinCEN's and IRS's roles and assess their effectiveness at ensuring BSA compliance and efforts to reengineer BSA data management."
Date: December 15, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bank Secrecy Act: Federal Agencies Should Take Action to Further Improve Coordination and Information-Sharing Efforts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The legislative framework for combating money laundering began with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in 1970 and most recently expanded in 2001with the USA PATRIOT Act. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) administers BSA and relies on multiple federal and state agencies to ensure financial institution compliance. GAO was asked to (1) describe how BSA compliance and enforcement responsibilities are distributed, (2) describe how agencies other than FinCEN are implementing those responsibilities and evaluate their coordination efforts, and (3) evaluate how FinCEN is implementing its BSA responsibilities. Among other things, GAO reviewed legislation, past GAO and Treasury reports, and agreements and guidance from all relevant agencies; and interviewed agency, association, and financial institution officials."
Date: February 12, 2009
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bank Secrecy Act: FinCEN Needs to Further Develop Its Form Revision Process for Suspicious Activity Reports

Description: Testimony issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To assist law enforcement agencies in their efforts to combat money laundering, terrorist financing, and other financial crimes, the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requires financial institutions to file suspicious activity reports (SAR) to inform the federal government of transactions related to possible violations of law or regulation. Depository institutions have been concerned about the resources required to file SARs and the extent to which SARs are used. The Subcommittee asked GAO to discuss our February 2009 report on suspicious activity reporting. Specifically, this testimony discusses (1) factors affecting the number of SARs filed, (2) actions agencies have taken to improve the usefulness of SARs, (3) federal agencies' use of SARs, and (4) the effectiveness of the process used to revise SAR forms. To respond to the request, GAO relied primarily on the February 2009 report titled Bank Secrecy Act: Suspicious Activity Report Use Is Increasing, but FinCEN Needs to Further Develop and Document Its Form Revision Process (GAO-09-226), and updated it with additional information provided by FinCEN. In that report, GAO recommended that FinCEN work to further develop a strategy that fully incorporates certain GAO-identified practices to enhance and sustain collaboration among federal agencies into the forms-change process."
Date: April 28, 2010
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bank Secrecy Act: Opportunities Exist for FinCEN and the Banking Regulators to Further Strengthen the Framework for Consistent BSA Oversight

Description: A chapter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. government's framework for preventing, detecting, and prosecuting money laundering has been expanding through additional pieces of legislation since the passage of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in 1970. In recent years, noncompliance with BSA requirements has raised concerns in Congress about the ability of federal banking regulators to oversee compliance at depository institutions and ensure that these institutions have the controls necessary to identify suspicious activity. In light of these concerns, GAO was asked to determine how federal banking regulators examine for BSA compliance and identify and track violations to ensure timely corrective action. GAO also was asked to determine how enforcement actions are taken for violations of the BSA."
Date: April 28, 2006
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bank Secrecy Act: Increased Use of Exemption Provisions Could Reduce Currency Transaction Reporting While Maintaining Usefulness to Law Enforcement Efforts

Description: A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "To aid law enforcement efforts against financial crimes, under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) depository institutions must file the Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's (FinCEN) currency transaction report (CTR) form on their customers' cash transactions of more than $10,000. While FinCEN's regulations allow institutions to exempt certain customers, over 15 million CTRs were filed in 2006. Public Law 109-351 directed GAO to report on (1) the usefulness of CTRs to law enforcement; (2) depository institutions' costs of meeting CTR requirements; and (3) ways to encourage use of exemptions to avoid unnecessary CTRs. Among other things, GAO obtained data from FinCEN on CTRs and exemptions from 2004 to 2006, surveyed 115 state and local law enforcement agencies and 680 depository institutions, held structured interviews with officials of federal agencies and depository institutions, and reviewed relevant laws and regulations."
Date: February 21, 2008
Creator: United States. Government Accountability Office.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department