Two federal agencies that oversee Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) requirements have notified financial institutions they will agree to “reasonable delays” in the filing of required reports if institutions can show the delays are necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) each provided clarity to financial institutions about the loosening of BSA reporting obligations.
“FinCEN recognizes financial institutions face challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the regulator said in an April 3 announcement. “In response to concerns regarding certain timing requirements of BSA filings, FinCEN recognizes that certain regulatory timing requirements with regard to BSA filings may be challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic and that there may be some reasonable delays in compliance.”
FinCEN also noted it was suspending until further notice a February ruling on Currency Transaction Filing (CTF) obligations “when reporting transactions involving sole proprietorships and entities operating under a ‘doing business as’ (DBA) name.” Firms that have already implemented the ruling into their CTF compliance need not stop following it, FinCEN said, but firms having issues implementing the rule can disregard it for the time being.
The OCC announced Tuesday that it agreed “reasonable delays” should be allowed in regards to filing certain BSA reports.
In connection with BSA obligations, the OCC pledged to “work with affected banks to reduce burden when scheduling examinations or inspections, including making greater use of off-site reviews, consistent with applicable legal and regulatory requirements. The OCC also will work with banks that may experience problems fulfilling their reporting responsibilities and will take into account each bank’s particular circumstances.”
Both FinCEN and the OCC also alerted financial institutions that they will loosen certain BSA requirements for loans connected to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was recently signed into law by President Donald Trump.
FinCEN said certain requirements relating to Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans made from federally insured depository institutions and credit unions to existing customers “will not require re-verification under applicable BSA requirements, unless otherwise indicated by the institution’s risk-based approach to BSA compliance.”
“FinCEN will continue to assess reasonable risk-based approaches to BSA obligations and will issue further information, as appropriate, particularly as the CARES Act is implemented,” FinCEN said.