Through its Legal Call Program, WBA Legal has learned of recent BSA examination findings by the FDIC Chicago Region which involves the filing of currency transaction reports (CTRs) when a bank’s cash order shipment is fulfilled by the regional armored car service provider, Thillens. It is WBA Legal’s understanding the company provides cash delivery services for many financial institutions located in the central States, including Wisconsin.
Fact Pattern: Bank contracts with Thillens to handle its cash order shipments. According to the company’s website, Thillens provides armored car services “to financial institutions, the video gaming business, ATM locations, Interactive Teller Machines at banks, and the retail market.” The company’s home base includes all of Wisconsin and Illinois.
When the bank need order cash from the Federal Reserve, the bank places an order with Thillens. Thillens will use cash from their own inventory, from its own account, to fulfill the bank’s cash order request. In the event that Thillens does not have enough cash on hand, Thillens will purchase the cash from a regional bank to fulfill the order for the requesting bank.
It is FDIC’s position, that because Thillens uses its own account to satisfy the bank’s cash order request, Thillens is considered a money services business (MSB) under FinCEN’s BSA rules. As an MSB, the bank need file CTRs for any cash transaction Thillens handled over the CTR reporting threshold.
WBA agrees, that technically, because funds are taken from the Thillens’ own accounts rather than from the Federal Reserve or from the requesting bank’s correspondent bank account, Thillens is an MSB and CTRs should be filed, accordingly. Any previously issued advisory from FinCEN regarding exemptions from CTR filings for armored couriers does not apply in this particular fact pattern; again, because Thillens uses its own account to satisfy banks’ cash order requests.
WBA has been in contact with FDIC Chicago regarding the matter. FDIC Chicago agrees the BSA finding is technical in nature, presents little money laundering risk or safety and soundness risk to the bank, but believes it technically needs to identify the BSA finding under the current construct of the CTR rules.
FinCEN is aware of the situation. WBA will continue its advocacy efforts with FinCEN in an attempt to obtain an exemption from CTR filing for the fact pattern involving bank cash order shipments handled by Thillens fulfilled from their own account. The challenge, however, is that FinCEN is currently dealing with the implementation of provisions under the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 as required under the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2021, which have implementation and rulemaking timing requirements.
If not already filing CTRs for Thillens transactions as outlined above, WBA Legal recommends banks, regardless of primary federal regulator, should immediately begin filing CTRs on all eligible Thillens transactions going forward as FinCEN has not issued an exemption from CTR filing for this situation. It is WBA’s understanding banks are not required to back-file CTRs unless or until the bank is instructed by FinCEN to do so. WBA will update the membership accordingly as advocacy efforts with regulators continue. If you have any questions regarding filing CTRs or this topic, be sure to contact WBA Legal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By, Alex Paniagua