BPI Comments on FinCEN Suspicious Activity Report Pilot Program

To Whom It May Concern:

The Bank Policy Institute[1] appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s proposal to establish a pilot program on the sharing of suspicious activity reports and related information with foreign branches, subsidiaries and affiliates of covered financial institutions under Section 6212(a) of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020.[2] BPI has long supported such a process and believes that the establishment of a formal pathway for the sharing of SARs and related information with foreign branches, subsidiaries and affiliates of U.S. banks will assist their efforts to holistically detect and deter illicit financial activity. Criminals operate unencumbered by jurisdictional borders and it is important that financial institutions – subject to appropriate controls, protocols and processes to protect the confidentiality of shared information – should be afforded the same opportunity in order to address illicit finance risks on an enterprise-wide basis. We also believe that such a process would allow domestic U.S. financial institutions to further align their practices with their foreign counterparts given that, as FinCEN describes in its rulemaking, there is pre-existing guidance that allows a U.S. branch of a foreign bank to share SARs with its head office.[3]

Understanding the statutorily mandated time constraints of this program, we support FinCEN’s efforts to establish it in a timely manner and offer the following recommendations with both the Congressional parameters and FinCEN’s proposal in mind. We also appreciate FinCEN’s commitment to provide financial institutions with a response to their pilot program application in a timely manner and encourage the agency and Congress to make sure that FinCEN has the resources necessary to support the pilot and evaluate its impacts, which will be key to facilitating its formal adoption.

To read the full comment letter, please click here.

[1] The Bank Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy, research and advocacy group, representing the nation’s leading banks and their customers. Our members include universal banks, regional banks, and the major foreign banks doing business in the United States. Collectively, they employ almost two million Americans, make nearly half of the nation’s small business loans, and are an engine for financial innovation and economic growth.

[2] 87 Fed. Reg. 3719

[3] 87 Fed. Reg. 3720