November 2020 Foodman website and JD Supra
data access

FinCEN has more than 400 data-access MOUs with federal, state, and local law enforcement regulatory agencies     relating to BSA data.  It consolidates the information that it receives and shares the consolidated reports with regulatory agencies. All the supervisory agencies update and monitor their information-sharing MOUs through frequent meetings and regular communication with FinCEN. Law enforcement agencies use BSA data to assist in ongoing investigations and when initiating new investigations.

The Department of the Treasury Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Congressional Budget Justification and Annual Performance Plan and Report FY 2021 discloses that bolstering BSA Data Protection is necessary   for FinCEN to continue carrying out its mission:  “To safeguard the financial system from illicit use, combat money laundering, and promote national security through the strategic use of financial authorities and the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence”. 

FINCEN needs additional funding to bolster BSA DATA Protection

The Report states that additional funding will allow FinCEN to:

  • Support an enhancement in BSA data inspections and training efforts.
  • Strengthen its inspections program to include internal, external, and bulk data usage; enhance its proactive engagement for preventative measures; and increase education and training efforts for the over 460 federal, state, and local agencies across the country with whom FinCEN maintains data access MOUs and their over 12,700 authorized users. Safeguarding the BSA database from misuse is a critical obligation, and FinCEN needs to make on-site inspections of its MOU holders a priority.
  • Move to a primarily on-site inspection posture to enhance visibility into individual agencies’ compliance with the obligations set forth in their MOUs. This will allow FinCEN to increase the number of routine on-site inspections performed.
  • Increase its training and outreach initiatives. From FY 2014 to FY 2018 there was an 18 percent increase in BSA data access MOUs, and FinCEN expects this percentage to steadily increase annually. FinCEN receives on average 120 access requests per year. FinCEN anticipates an increase in MOUs in the future commensurate with historical growth patterns, and a need for more training resources to cover BSA data security and proper use of BSA data for the corresponding increase in users as well as provide on-going, substantive training and outreach to FinCEN law enforcement partners. The thought is that as investigators become more adept at manipulating BSA data, more sophisticated cases of criminal wrongdoing will be brought to justice.

Regulated institutions that are subject to BSA reporting requirements have the responsibility to properly use and protect BSA Data

FinCEN’s goal is to obtain better reporting from regulated institutions and close “knowledge gaps” via training, feedback sessions, on-site visits and maintaining a close and continual working relationship with stakeholders.  Regulated Institutions are required to ensure that they are not improperly using BSA DATA, and that they are fulfilling their responsibility to protect BSA DATA.  

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