FinCEN Launches “FinCEN Exchange”
December 12, 2017
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has launched the FinCEN Exchange program, which is designed to enhance information sharing with financial institutions. FinCEN, in coordination with law enforcement, will hold regular meetings to brief financial institutions on priority illicit finance threats, including targeted information and broader typologies. This will enable financial institutions to better identify risks and focus on high-priority issues.
Credit union participation in FinCEN Exchange is strictly voluntary, and the program does not introduce any new regulatory requirements. It also does not replace or otherwise affect existing mechanisms by which law enforcement engages directly with the financial industry.
It is part of Treasury’s broader objective of strengthening the anti-money laundering framework by encouraging, enabling, and acknowledging more regular industry focus on high-value and high-impact activities. Operational briefings under the FinCEN Exchange program will begin in the coming weeks.
Law enforcement relies on the financial industry to report important data to fight financial crime through mechanisms such as Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs). The government, in turn, provides feedback to the private sector, including through FinCEN Advisories, SAR Statistics, briefings, and other forms of information to guide and encourage industry efforts.
Since 2015, FinCEN has convened over a dozen special briefings in five cities with more than 40 financial institutions and multiple law enforcement agencies. In connection with these briefings, FinCEN, working closely with law enforcement, issues requests pursuant to Section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act related to investigations and provides associated financial typologies. Information provided after the briefings by financial institutions through SARs has helped the public sector map out and target weapons proliferators, sophisticated global money laundering operations, human trafficking and smuggling rings, corruption and trade-based money laundering networks, among other illicit actors.
The briefings also have proved useful to financial institutions, helping them focus on specific priorities and better identify risks.
FinCEN Exchange will build on the success of these efforts by convening more regularly scheduled and as-needed operational briefings across the nation with law enforcement, FinCEN, and financial institutions to exchange information on priority illicit finance and national security threats. In consultation with law enforcement, FinCEN will invite financial institutions to participate based on a variety of factors, including whether they may possess information relevant to a particular topic.
While the contours of each briefing will vary, the information shared, whether through Section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act or other authorities, will often include information intended to support specific lines of investigation or broader typologies related to a particular illicit finance threat. After receiving information at a FinCEN Exchange operational briefing, financial institutions will be better equipped to incorporate responsive information into SARs.
FinCEN encourages financial institutions to voluntarily share, as appropriate, information with other FinCEN Exchange participants as well as other financial institutions or associations of financial institutions pursuant to Section 314(b) of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Can we require that loan payments be made via recurring transfers from the member’s account to the loan or a required direct deposit?
No. Regulation E specifically prohibits lenders conditioning a loan approval based on required electronic funds transfer. You can incentivize the member to set up automatic payments with different programs, such as lowering the APR, but you cannot require automatic electronic payments as a condition of the loan.
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