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Bank Secrecy Act
Federal Agencies Should Take Action to Further Improve Coordination and Information-sharing Efforts : Report to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate
The legislative framework for combating money laundering began with the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) in 1970 and most recently expanded in 2001with the USA PATRIOT Act. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) administers BSA and relies on multiple federal and state agencies to ensure financial institution compliance. GAO was asked to (1) describe how BSA compliance and enforcement responsibilities are distributed, (2) describe how agencies other than FinCEN are implementing those responsibilities and evaluate their coordination efforts, and (3) evaluate how FinCEN is implementing its BSA responsibilities. Among other things, GAO reviewed legislation, past GAO and Treasury reports, and agreements and guidance from all relevant agencies; and interviewed agency, association, and financial institution officials. GAO recommends that IRS better coordinate examination schedules with state agencies; that FinCEN, the federal financial regulators, and IRS consider developing a mechanism to regularly discuss BSA examinations and procedures across all regulators; and that the FinCEN Director facilitate communication on IRS referrals, and finalize electronic data-access MOUs with state agencies and securities and futures regulators.