FinCEN issued a request for information seeking feedback on ways to "streamline, modernize, and update" AML and countering the financing of terrorism regulations and guidance under the Bank Secrecy Act.

Under Section 6216 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020, FinCEN is required to review the BSA regulatory regime to ensure there are cost-effective and efficient "safeguards" shielding the U.S. financial system from financial crimes, such as money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation. The review also helps ensure that the information FinCEN collects from covered entities is "highly useful in countering financial crime."

Accordingly, FinCEN is seeking feedback on, among other things, whether:

  • there are shortcomings in BSA guidance and regulations in addressing threats to the financial system or national security;
  • the current reporting and recordkeeping requirements collect information that is "highly useful in countering financial crime";
  • there are BSA requirements that are obsolete, redundant, inefficient, or no longer fulfill their original purpose; and
  • there are BSA requirements that fail to conform, or do not fully implement international standards, such as Financial Action Task Force Recommendations.

Comments in response to the RFI for Information are due on or before February 14, 2022.

Commentary - Jodi Avergun

Today, FinCEN took another step in complying with the many requisites imposed on it by the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.  FinCEN's request for information as to how the BSA can be improved to either better address the risks posed by money laundering or eliminate outdated or redundant regulations provides an opportunity for financial institutions to make constructive suggestions to FinCEN from a pragmatic, industry-based perspective about effective intelligence gathering and reporting. Given the vast increase in the volume and size of financial transactions and the more effective analytical tools that financial institutions now possess compared to when most of the regulations were drafted in the post-9/11 era, suggestions are likely to be prolific, and are likely to range from the easy (increase the Currency Transaction Report and Form 8300 reporting threshold) to the unlikely (eliminate the Suspicious Activity Reporting narrative section requirement as too time-consuming and inconsistently applied). 

Primary Sources

  1. FinCEN Request for Information and Comment: Review of Bank Secrecy Act Regulations and Guidance (86 FR 71201)

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.