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TCH Calls on FinCEN to Address SAR Sharing Restrictions

The Clearing House submitted a comment letter to FinCEN requesting guidance that will better enable banks to share suspicious activity reports (SARs) within their international organizations for enterprise-wide AML compliance purposes. Currently, FinCEN regulations and guidance prohibit U.S. depository institutions from sharing SAR information with any foreign branch or affiliate. These restrictions impede the ability of globally-active U.S. depository institutions to conduct effective enterprise-wide AML risk management, assessment and activity monitoring. TCH calls on FinCEN to: (i) issue written guidance that allows U.S. a depository institution  to share SARS with a foreign branch or affiliate, so long as that branch or affiliate: (a) is located in a country that is a  member of the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) or (b) has entered into a written confidentiality agreement or arrangement with the U.S. depository institution, and (ii) reaffirm the authority of U.S. depository institutions to share the underlying facts, transactions, and documents upon which a SAR is based and, in particular, clarify that the fact that information from underlying facts, transactions, or documents has been included in a SAR does not cause that information to fall under the general prohibition against disclosing a SAR or information that would reveal the existence of a SAR.