WASHINGTON (9/15/11)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is considering making electronic filing of all Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports mandatory, starting on June 30, 2012. FinCEN said the switch to all-electronic filing would “improve efficiency, reduce costs for the financial industry, and enhance the ability of investigators, analysts, and examiners to gain better and more timely access to important financial information.” Increased BSA E-Filing would also help FinCEN provide information relevant to money laundering and terrorist financing investigations to law enforcement “in the quickest manner possible,” shortening the lag time between when BSA reports are filed and when they can be accessed by authorities to two days. Criminal investigators and other officials are forced to wait two weeks to access new paper-filed BSA reports. FinCEN will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. BSA E-Filing, first developed in 2002, is a free, voluntary, Web-based system that is user-ID and password protected. Financial institutions subject to BSA reporting requirements use the system to electronically file a variety of BSA forms, either individually or in batches, through a FinCEN secure network. FinCEN noted that 85% of BSA filings already are made electronically. The following forms are currently available for BSA E-Filing:
*Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs); *Designations of Exempt Persons (DEPs); and *Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).
Currency and Monetary Instrument Reports, which are usually filed by individuals crossing the border into the U.S., would be exempted from the E-filing obligation, FinCEN said. FinCEN this month provided technical specifications to help staff prepare their institutions for future large filings of SARs and CTRs, and FinCEN has also scheduled a webinar for Sept. 29. For FinCEN’s latest proposal and more on the technical specifications, use the resource links.