FinCEN recently released another advisory on SAR confidentiality that reminded financial institutions of the requirements to maintain the confidentiality of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). FinCEN stated that it has noticed that an increasing amount of private parties are seeking SARs from financial institutions for use in legal and other matters. FinCEN is reminding financial institutions that they are prohibited from revealing a SAR, or the existence of a SAR.
FinCEN previously provided guidance on maintaining the confidentiality of SARs and again stresses that unauthorized disclosure of a SAR could among other things, undermine investigations, deter other financial institutions from filing SARs, or threaten the safety of those who file. There are stiff penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of a SAR including jail time, so it is important to take this reminder seriously.
So here is what is important to remember:
- Ensure all employees are trained in the importance of SAR confidentiality.
- Ensure those entrusted with SAR information at your credit union take the appropriate steps to ensure confidentiality.
- If you become aware of an unauthorized disclosure, or you receive a subpoena, or other request for SAR disclosure, FinCEN urges you to contact the Office of Chief Counsel at (703)905-3590.
FinCEN provides several helpful tips for maintaining confidentiality in their advisories, which are excellent best practices.
Have a great day!