FinCEN Releases Guidance on Financial Crime Information Sharing Program

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network released new guidance on the Patriot Act Section 314(b) information sharing program, FinCEN Director Kenneth Blanco said today at the ABA/ABA Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference. The updated guidance is designed to provide banks with additional clarity about the 314(b) requirements and is in the form of a fact sheet.

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network Director Kenneth Blanco

Through the 314(b) program, financial institutions may now share information about suspected money laundering or terrorist financing, and the guidance provides that information may be shared “even if such activities do not constitute a transaction,” including “an attempted transaction or an attempt to induce others engage in a transaction,” Blanco said, adding that information also may be shared even if financial institutions have not made a conclusive determination that the activity is suspicious.

The guidance also clarifies that there is no limitation under 314(b) on the sharing of personally identifiable information or any restriction on how the information can be shared—enabling, for example, information to be shared verbally. The new fact sheet also provides guidance on which organizations can share information. Blanco added that “an entity that is not itself a financial institutions may form and operate an association of financial institutions whose members can use 314(b). Notably, this includes compliance service providers and an unincorporated association of financial intuitions governed by a contract between its financial institutions members.”

During his speech, Blanco also discussed how FinCEN helped recover millions from pandemic related fraud and how the agency responded to banks’ questions related to Paycheck Protection Program fraud. He also urged financial institutions to continue submitting Suspicious Activity Reports and include detailed information if the information is COVID-19 fraud related.