Is your credit union taking advantage of voluntary information sharing? Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act (31 CFR 103.110) allows credit unions to share information in order to identify and report suspicious activities that may involve money laundering or terrorist activity. Privacy laws and regulations prevent a credit union from sharing useful information with other financial institutions to combat terrorism and money laundering. Now FinCEN encourages credit unions to complete the 314(b) form, which will allow financial institutions to share information for a one-year period. Often times other financial institutions hold information that can be beneficial when trying to determine an appropriate course of action on potentially suspicious activity. Completing the 314(b) form could be a valuable tool in your BSA compliance arsenal.
Here are some key points:
1) Information should only be shared with respect to suspicious activities related to terrorism or money laundering. So, you won’t want to pick up the phone and call your fellow credit union friends about other suspicious activities.
2) Your credit union will need to ensure that the credit union you are sharing information with also has a valid 314(b) registration on file.
3) Your credit union will need to renew its registration each year.
4) Your credit union will be responsible for ensuring the security of any information it receives from a sharing financial institution.
5) The information may be used only to identify and, where appropriate, report on money laundering and terrorist activities; to determine whether to establish or maintain an account; to engage in a transaction; or to assist in BSA compliance.
6) Section 314(b) does not authorize a financial institution to share a SAR, nor does it permit your credit union to disclose the existence or nonexistence of a SAR. Your credit union may use information obtained under section 314(b) to determine whether to file a SAR, but the intention to prepare or file a SAR cannot be shared with another financial institution.
It is important that you read FinCEN’s guidance on 314(b) sharing practices prior to engaging in the practice. You will also want to ensure that your policies and procedures are amended to include information sharing.
Finally, I heard a question on the radio that made me think.
The question was:
Which is more underrated?
Heading south in the winter or heading north in the summer.
I just spent a few days up in northern Minnesota, and I have to say that the tall timbers, sparse population, crisp air and great fishing make my choice an easy one. I am not saying I don’t enjoy a good beach from time to time, but the northern woods is hard to beat.
Have a great week.