BPI Comments on FinCEN’s Beneficial Ownership Information Requests

Ladies and Gentlemen:

The Bank Policy Institute [1] appreciates the opportunity to respond to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s January 2024 request under the Paperwork Reduction Act (the “PRA”) for comment on FinCEN’s estimated total annual reporting and recordkeeping burden for the proposed information collection associated with beneficial ownership information (“BOI”) requests (the “PRA Notice”).[2]

BPI supports FinCEN’s effort to implement the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) effectively in alignment with Congressional intent and strongly encourages FinCEN to make the registry simple for Financial Institutions (“FIs”) to access.[3] The PRA Notice states that “FinCEN intends to provide additional detail regarding the form and manner of BOI requests for all categories of authorized recipients through specific instructions and guidance.” As described below, BPI defers – until the release of further guidance on FI BOI requests – on providing a burden estimate in response to the PRA Notice because we need additional information to be able to provide a reasonably accurate estimate. At the same time, we offer recommendations regarding the form and manner of BOI requests in response to the PRA Notice’s request for public input on “ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of technology.” Our proposals are designed to align with Congressional aims including to reduce burdens on FIs and to help FinCEN in its efforts to “enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected [and] reduce paperwork and respondent burden”.[4]

To read the full comment letter, please click here, or click on the download button below.

[1] The Bank Policy Institute is a nonpartisan public policy, research and advocacy group that represents universal banks, regional banks, and the major foreign banks doing business in the United States. The Institute produces academic research and analysis on regulatory and monetary policy topics, analyzes and comments on proposed regulations, and represents the financial services industry with respect to cybersecurity, fraud, and other information security issues. Issues of focus include capital and liquidity regulation, anti-money-laundering, payment systems, consumer protection, bank powers, bank examination, and competition in the financial sector.

[2] 89 Fed. Reg. 5995 (January 30, 2024).

[3] In the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (“AML Act”) and the CTA, Congress “reinforce[d] that the [AML/CFT] policies, procedures, and controls of financial institutions shall be risk-based” and directed FinCEN to reduce burdens on financial institutions made “unnecessary or duplicative” in light of the enactment of the AML Act and the creation of the registry. 31 U.S.C. 5318(c)(2).

As BPI has reiterated in many comment letters and statements, we recognize the importance of protecting the privacy of business owners while giving banks and law enforcement access to helpful data to fight money laundering, sex trafficking and other financial crimes.

[4] The PRA Notice at 5996.