Understanding FinCEN Compliance-03-16-2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 16, 2010)

For as long as we have had currency to exchange, there have been those who produce, obtain and distribute that currency for unlawful purposes. In the past few decades, with the prevalence of online business (e-commerce) and the increasing anonymity of customers across the globe, these practices have adapted to become more dangerous and more difficult to investigate. For these reasons, the United States federal government has instated a system of regulations designed to standardize the way U.S. businesses communicate with consumers and move currency between hands and around the world.Among the agencies that see to the organization and enforcement of these transactional regulations is the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Compliance with FinCEN, most notably the Bank Secrecy Act, is an essential component of running a secure and federally sound business, both online and in brick-and-mortar locations. In this article, well discuss the basics of FinCEN, the Bank Secrecy Act and how to determine if your business must comply

What is FinCEN?

FinCEN was established as a division of the United States Department of the Treasury in 1990 in order to provide a network of financial intelligence and analysis resources to the government as a whole. FinCEN operates toward the efforts of business transparency in order to detect, mitigate and prevent criminal transportation and use of U.S. currency both here and abroad. Through the FinCEN network, the U.S. government has built relationships worldwide by sharing financial intelligence and keeping domestic businesses at a consistent level of financial security.

What is the Bank Secrecy Act?

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) is comprised of the first federal laws specifically written to fight against criminal money laundering by putting forth a set of security requirements with which all U.S. businesses must comply. Placed under the administration of FinCEN in 1994, the BSA includes both the original anti-money laundering initiatives and those added following the creation of the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which broadened the BSA to encompass anti-American funding and pro-terrorism trafficking of American currency.

What Businesses Must Comply?

As a matter of national security, all American businesses have a responsibility to verify the identities of all persons with whom they do business. However, those who will be the most impacted by FinCEN and the BSA are financial institutions. These include, but may not be limited to: depository institutions, security brokers and dealers and financial service providers. Contact your local government branch if you need clarification as to your level of obligation to FinCEN regulations.

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