ABA Urges Interagency Coordination on SAR Exemption Rules

The American Bankers Association wrote to the federal banking agencies today urging them to pursue a single interagency rulemaking instead of finalizing separate regulations regarding Suspicious Activity Report exemptions. ABA wrote that “the issuance of separate, similar compliance requirements can lead to disparities in interpretation and create unnecessary burdens through those disparities.”

A recent Financial Crimes Enforcement Network rule authorized an exemption for innovative solutions to SAR monitoring and filing, but the agencies’ current rules do not offer a similar exemption, ABA wrote. “As a result, if FinCEN grants a special exemption when approving an innovative solution to [bank secrecy act]compliance, a bank that uses that innovation could be cited by its prudential regulator for not complying with the banking agency’s rule,” the association pointed out. The agencies issued their proposals to coordinate with the FinCEN rule, a step which ABA supported.

ABA also recommended that banks be required to file only one request for an exemption to their prudential regulator. The banking agencies should then coordinate with FinCEN about the application, the association said. ABA also urged the agencies to include specific procedures to apply for the exemption, especially a timeline for the agencies to respond to requests.