Electronic Filing of Most BSA Reports Now Required 

Glory LeDu
MCUL & Affiliates Legislative & Regulatory Affairs Specialist
On Feb. 23, 2012, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued a Final Notice requiring the electronic filing of most Bank Secrecy Act reports by July 1, 2012. Specifically, the action mandates the electronic submission of Suspicious Activity Reports, Currency Transaction Reports, Registration of Money Services Business (RMSBs), and Designation of Exempt Person Reports (DOEPs). Financial Institutions are reminded that they must begin using the new FinCEN reports, which are available only electronically through the BSA E-Filing System as of April 1.

Credit unions that continue to file paper reports after March 31 may be subject to FinCEN civil money penalties for noncompliance with regulations, including $500 for each negligent currency transaction or suspicious activity reporting violation under 31 CFR 101.820. FinCEN has also indicated that it may reject any mandated reports in paper format and return them to the filing institution after the deadline.

Q. When did it become mandatory for Credit Unions to E-File their BSA forms?
A. With limited exceptions, E-Filing was mandatory effective July 1, 2012.

Q. What happens if my credit union continues to file paper BSA reports after the deadline?
A. FinCEN may impose civil money penalties for noncompliance with regulations, including $500 for each negligent currency transaction or suspicious activity reporting violation under 31 CFR 101.820.

Q. How do I sign up for FinCEN’s e-filing system?
A. You will need to visit the BSA E-Filing System and click Become a BSA E-Filer and follow the instructions in order to enroll yourself as an individual FBAR filer or your organization as a Supervisory User in BSA E-Filing. The enrollment process can take from five to seven days. If your organization has already enrolled in BSA E-Filing, contact your organization’s supervisory user to obtain instructions for enrolling yourself as a general user.

Q. I have previously enrolled in the BSA E-Filing, but now I can’t access the system. Why?
A. Accessing BSA E-Filing requires that you use a computer and Internet browser and requires that you use the correct User ID and password. If you feel all of your information is correct, but can’t gain access to the system, contact the BSA E-Filing Help Desk at (866) 346-9478 (option 1) or BSAEFilingHelp@fincen.gov for further assistance.

Q. How much does participation in BSA E-Filing cost?
A. Nothing. No direct costs are involved for an organization to use BSA E-Filing. However, indirect costs may be incurred if an organization elects to make changes to its internal BSA filing process in order to optimize its use of BSA E-Filing.

Q. When did FinCEN adopt new CTR and SAR forms?
A. FinCEN issued updates to the electronic CTR and SAR forms in October 2012. In a press release, indicated that there were no changes to field lengths or any field additions or deletions, the overall technical layout of the files did not change. The updates included clarifications in the instructions for certain fields, corrections to justifications for certain fields and updates of the acknowledgement file format to include user field values from incoming records.

Q. When are the new FinCEN reports required to be filed by credit unions?
A. FinCEN stopped accepting “legacy” reports via E-Filing on March 31.

Q. How do I know what to include in the fields on the relevant BSA forms?
A. There are resources located on FinCEN’s website, including these for the CTR and SAR forms. There are also instructions located at the end of the CTR and SAR forms.


SAS CU Meeting with OFIR 

Credit unions under $5 million in assets are invited to participate in a meeting with the MCUL& Affiliates and the Department of Insurance and Financial Services (previously known as OFIR) to discuss compliance-related issues of particular importance to small credit unions. There will be several sessions scheduled throughout the state. The initial scheduled sessions to be held in April are as follows:

Credit union CEOs in this asset size will receive an invitation to attend. Anyone from the credit union is invited to attend, however subject matter will be most important for CEOs, executive management and the board of directors.

If you have questions, contact a member of the MCUL Regulatory Affairs team at (800) 262-6285.