In 1970, Congress passed the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act commonly known as the “Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA), establishing recordkeeping and reporting requirements by private individuals, banks and other financial institutions. The BSA is intended to safeguard the U.S. financial system and the financial institutions that make up that system from the abuses of financial crime, including money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit financial transactions.
All credit unions must comply with the BSA regulations.
To assist credit unions with their efforts in establishing and maintaining procedures designed to assure and monitor compliance with the BSA, additional information and details are provided in the links to the right.
Please note the term “bank” is used interchangeably with “credit union” for ease in drafting joint statements from the FFIEC Agencies. Treasury and FinCEN regulations use the term “bank” to define a variety of financial institutions, including credit unions.
BSA Exam Resources
12 USC 1786(q)(2) requires that the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) include a review of the BSA compliance program at each examination of a federally insured credit union. NCUA plays a critical role in implementing BSA regulations by developing examination guidance, ensuring compliance with the BSA and enforcing the BSA in federally insured credit unions.
- NCUA Examiner's Guide
- AIRES BSA Questionnaire
- Interagency Statement on Enforcement of BSA AML Requirements (opens new window)
- Customer Identification Program Exemption Order (opens new window)
Order Granting an Exemption from Customer Identification Program (opens new window) requirements implementing section 326 of the USA PATRIOT Act, 31 U.S.C. § 5318(l), for loans extended by banks (and their subsidiaries) subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Banking Agencies to commercial customers to facilitate purchases of property and casualty insurance policies.
Bank Secrecy Act - Increased Use of Exemption Provisions Could Reduce Currency Transaction Reporting (CTR) While Maintaining Usefulness to Law Enforcement Efforts (opens new window) - The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report to congressional committees on the usefulness of CTRs to law enforcement, the costs of meeting CTR requirements to depository institutions, and ways to encourage use of exemptions to avoid unnecessary CTRs.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) (opens new window) - FinCEN, a bureau of the U.S. Treasury, is the delegated administrator of the BSA. In this capacity, FinCEN issues regulations and interpretive guidance, provides outreach to regulated industries, supports the examination functions performed by federal banking agencies and pursues civil enforcement actions when warranted.
There are several ways to contact the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The following contact information is provided to help direct your inquiries to the appropriate offices and/or personnel.
703.905.3591 (Monday thru Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., E.S.T.)
- For the general public with questions about the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, its policies and programs.
Regulatory Toll-Free Helpline
800.949.2732 (Monday thru Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., E.S.T.)
- For financial institutions with questions relating to Bank Secrecy Act and USA PATRIOT Act requirements and forms.
Financial Institutions Toll-Free Hotline
866.556.3974 (7 days a week, 24 hours a day)
- For financial institutions wanting to report suspicious transactions that may relate to terrorist activity. The purpose of the hotline is to facilitate the immediate transmittal of this information to law enforcement.
While not an inclusive list, links to several reports on FinCEN’s website are provided below. You are encouraged to visit FinCEN’s home page for an inclusive list of all BSA related resources.
- SAR Activity Review Trends, Tips and Issues (opens new window): These reports are issued twice a year and provide analyses of trends, tips and issues about the preparation, use and utility of Suspicious Activity Reports.
- SAR Activity Review - By the Numbers (opens new window): A compilation of numerical data gathered from Suspicious Activity Reports filed by depository institutions certain money services, casinos and card clubs, and certain segments of the securities and futures industries.
- Advisories, Rulings, Bulletins, Fact Sheets (opens new window): Provide additional guidance and information regarding the BSA.
- 314(a) Information Requests: FinCEN regularly requests credit unions search records for persons that may be involved in terrorism or money laundering. Requests are sent to points of contact (POCs) at credit unions. If you need to change your POC, please file an amended Call Report with the updated information.
- Guidance on providing banking services to the MSB industry
- MSB Registration list (opens new window)
U.S. Money Laundering Threat Assessment (MLTA): The MLTA offers a detailed analysis of money laundering methods in the United States, ranging from well-established techniques for integrating dirty money into the financial system to modern innovations that exploit global payment networks as well as the Internet.
2007 National Money Laundering Strategy: The 2007 Strategy addresses the priority threats and vulnerabilities identified by the Money Laundering Threat Assessment released in 2006.
Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Reports: The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body whose purpose is the development and promotion of national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
High Intensity Financial Crimes Areas (HIFCAS): This is a means of concentrating law enforcement efforts at the federal, state and local levels in high intensity money laundering zones.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTAs) (opens new window): HIDTAs are areas within the United States that exhibit serious drug trafficking problems and harmfully impact other areas of the country.
International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR) (opens new window), published annually by the U.S. State Department identifies major money laundering countries and jurisdictions.
Cornerstone (opens new window): A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) comprehensive investigative initiative for fighting financial crime, trade fraud and intellectual property crime. The Cornerstone Report is a quarterly bulletin highlighting key issues related to ICE financial and trade investigations.
For federally insured credit unions, the BSA is addressed in Part 748 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations and Title 31 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The links to these regulations are provided below.
- Recent Final Rule Part 748 Filing Requirements for Suspicious Activity Reports 10/19/2006 (opens new window)
- National Credit Union Administration Regulations
- Bank Secrecy Act Statute (opens new window) ; 31 USC 5311- 5314 (opens new window); 31 USC 5316- 5332 (opens new window) ; 12 USC 1829b (opens new window); 12 USC 1951- 1959 (opens new window)
- Codified Bank Secrecy Act Regulations: 31 CFR 103 (opens new window)
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network encourages the use of electronic filing of Bank Secrecy Act forms. Go to http://bsaefiling.fincen.treas.gov/main.html (opens new window).
Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR)
- Line Item Instructions for Depository Institutions SAR (opens new window)
- Guidance on Preparing a Complete & Sufficient Suspicious Activity Report Narrative (November 2003) (opens new window)
- SAR Narrative Guidance Package (opens new window)
- FinCEN Form 105 - Report of International Transportation of Currency or Monetary Instruments (CMIR) (opens new window)
- Treasury Department Form 90.22.1 - Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR) (opens new window)
- General Specifications for Electronic Filing of BSA Reports (opens new window)