GAO Recommends Greater BSA Transparency

Sep 27, 2019
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network should consider consistently communicating summary data and regularly providing institution-specific feedback on Bank Secrecy Act reporting, the Government Accountability Office recommended in a new report.

The GAO said financial institution representatives told the agency that generating Suspicious Activity Reports can be labor intensive, with little feedback from regulators on whether the reports are useful.

The GAO released the report as Congress debates broader BSA/AML reforms and on the same day that a bipartisan group of Senate Banking Committee members introduced a bill that would require companies to register their owners with FinCEN upon incorporation.

ICBA was interviewed for the GAO report and last year issued a white paper with principles for modernizing the BSA/AML regime, including government collection of beneficial ownership records when legal entities are formed.

The House Financial Services Committee in June advanced ICBA-supported legislation that would require certain small businesses to disclose their "beneficial owners" to FinCEN when they are formed, relieving community banks of the burden of collecting this information from their customers.