United States

FinCEN updates frequently asked BSA questions


In December 2017, FinCEN announced updates to its “Answers to Frequently Asked Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Questions” resource located on its website. Although some changes were technical in nature, including the removal of several outdated questions and updated references citing the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), FinCEN also added or modified several answers to address current issues involving the Designation of Exempt Person (DOEP) form and exemptible entities under the BSA.

Below are two examples of questions that were clarified as part of the update:

Question 14 indicates that whether a state-licensed check-cashing business is exemptible under the BSA from currency transaction report (CTR) requirements relies on the institution’s determination as to whether the business falls into either of the following two categories: (1) An entity listed on one of the major national stock exchanges, or a subsidiary of an entity listed on those stock exchanges as described in 31 CFR § 1020.315 or (2) A nonlisted business, if the criteria of 31 CFR § 1020.315 are met. Under this guidance, FinCEN notes a check casher that meets the definition of an MSB (money services business) primarily engaged in the business of cashing checks would be ineligible as an exempt person.

Question 16 provides that institutions are not required to file either a CTR or a DOEP form when a federal, state or local government official, as part of his or her official duties, engages in an otherwise typically reportable transaction involving currency in amounts over $10,000. The guidance warns, however, that institutions should ensure they’ve taken steps to determine that the customer is, in fact, eligible for the exemption and retains documentation of the basis for that determination. The guidance further clarifies that notwithstanding the CTR and DOEP exemption for government officials, institutions should still obtain and record the name and birth date of a government official who purchases a monetary instrument for more than $3,000 in currency.

Other updated information includes responses as to where an institution can obtain a copy of and file the DOEP form, as well as information regarding the acknowledgement of receipt for institutions who submit a DOEP form.