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Treasury Establishes FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HOTLINE Relating to Terrorist Activity

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has established a FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HOTLINE, 1-866-556-3974, for financial institutions to voluntarily report to law enforcement suspicious transactions that may relate to recent terrorist activity against the United States. The purpose of the HOTLINE is to facilitate the immediate transmittal of this information to law enforcement and it will be operational 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Information pertaining to the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals List, or questions concerning the financial institution’s compliance with OFAC regulations, should be directed to OFAC at its existing hotline at 1-800-540-6322.

Financial institutions identifying suspicious transactions under 31 CFR Part 103 or under the regulations of their federal financial institution regulators are required to report such transactions by filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) in accordance with applicable agency regulations, even if they provide information over the FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HOTLINE. Institutions should file the SAR with the IRS Detroit Computing Center as soon as possible. This HOTLINE is intended to provide to law enforcement and other authorized recipients of SAR information the essence of the suspicious activity in an expedited fashion. The HOTLINE use is voluntary and does not negate an institution's responsibility to file a SAR in accordance with applicable regulations.

Even if not currently covered by the suspicious activity reporting requirements in Title 31, institutions such as money services businesses, casinos and card clubs, and securities firms are encouraged to use the FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HOTLINE to report suspicious activity that may relate to recent terrorist activity and to file a SAR form.

Financial institutions identifying such suspicious financial activity on a SAR can assist law enforcement by (i) capturing the information on the SAR accurately and completely; (ii) explaining the suspicious transaction as completely as possible in the narrative section; and (iii) including the following information if applicable – any correspondent bank name/account information; names/locations of business entities; names of cities, countries and foreign financial institutions linked to the transaction, especially if funds transfer activity is involved; and account numbers and beneficiary names. In addition, institutions preparing SARs on Form TD F 90-22.47 are asked to check the "Other" box on Part III, Line 35(s) of the SAR form and to type in "terrorism" immediately following the box. Casinos and card clubs may choose to use the SARC Form (TD F 90-22.49) and check the "Other" box on Part III, Line 32(n) and type in "terrorism".

Nothing in this announcement precludes a financial institution from directly contacting law enforcement or the institution’s federal regulator concerning these issues.