WBA filed comments with FRB, FDIC, and OCC on Monday regarding a new process whereby financial institutions could apply for exemptions for filing SARs. Each agency proposed their own rule to amend applicable SAR regulations to allow each agency the ability to issue exemptions from the requirements of the SAR regulations. The proposed rules would allow each agency to grant relief to supervised institutions that develop innovative solutions intended to meet Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements more efficiently and effective. WBA made a number of recommendations to each agency, including:   

  • The agencies, together with FinCEN, need to create one standard and one system for any institution to use when applying for an exemption;  
  • The agencies, together with FinCEN, need to create a single-filing process whereby an institution files solely with its prudential federal regulator and any need for FinCEN approval involving the same application be obtained by the regulator;   
  • The agencies need to provide more information about the application itself, including what questions need be answered when applying, what factors are to be considered in decisions, and what supplemental information need be provided with the application;   
  • The agencies need provide a clear timeline for response to an application filing;   
  • The agencies need create an appeal process so that an applicant may make changes and re-submit without having to completely re-apply for an exemption; and  
  • The agencies need publish exemption decisions, so the industry is aware of agency analysis and decision regarding a particular process or new technology.  

  WBA is hopeful the agencies will take the recommendations into consideration when finalizing the proposals.