BPI Responds to FinCEN Effort to Measure Effort Required to File SARs

To Whom It May Concern:

The Bank Policy Institute[1] appreciates the opportunity to respond to FinCEN’s request under the Paperwork Reduction Act for comment on its proposal to renew without change the suspicious activity report (FinCEN Form 111) form used by financial institutions to report suspicious transactions to FinCEN.[2]

This letter provides BPI’s response to FinCEN’s request for burden estimates of SAR filings. In formulating BPI’s burden estimate of 21.41 hours per SAR filed, BPI conducted a survey of its members.[3] The 15 survey respondents included banks with at least $100 billion in assets. Respondents included banks regulated by the OCC and Federal Reserve, with those completing the surveys providing estimates based on the following data and calculation: (i) the number of annual work hours for the institution’s U.S. AML SAR-related workforce[4] divided by (ii) the number of U.S. AML SARs filed by that institution for the year.[5]

For reasons described in greater detail below, we respectfully encourage FinCEN to reevaluate its hourly burden estimate of 1.98 hours per SAR filed to assure that it adequately accounts for the time needed for SAR-related reviews and processes required to meet SAR filing requirements.

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. 9913 (February 12, 2024).

[3] Our burden estimate does not purport to include burden estimates of SAR filings by financial institutions unaffiliated with a bank.

[4] “SAR-related workforce” includes FTE and contractors at the alert, investigation, drafting/filing, and QA levels, for all initial and continuing investigations, regardless of whether a SAR is filed. It does not include FTE or contractors for KYC and transaction monitoring design teams (e.g., coverage strategy, systemic alerting design, etc.).

[5] Respondents used the most recent one-year period available for purposes of calculating SAR burden estimates.