FinCEN’s Commitment to Open Government
Under the Open Government Directive, each Federal agency must take immediate, specific steps to promote transparency, participation, and collaboration. Below are just a few examples of how FinCEN promotes these principles in its policies, rulemakings, programs, and partnerships with the regulatory and law enforcement communities. Nothing in the Open Government policies or memoranda is inconsistent with, or lessens in any way, FinCEN’s obligations to protect classified and other sensitive information, including, for example, FinCEN data and personally identifiable information.
Support for Filers: Providing meaningful, clear guidance and prompt support to filers and others involved in implementing the regulatory regime is essential to promoting transparency. The FinCEN Resource Center (FRC) allows for one centralized path for all incoming communication. FinCEN also posts direct links to useful information for addressing the most common and important questions asked of its Regulatory Helpline. The “Regulatory Helpline Hot Topics” page is updated regularly to reflect the changing nature of questions regarding anti-money laundering and FinCEN regulations. For more information about the Regulatory Helpline or to seek assistance with compliance questions, please call 1-800-949-2732 or e-mail FRC@fincen.gov.
Reports & Publications: SAR Stats is an electronic publication that provides an annual review of aggregated Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filing activity. In addition, Interactive SAR Stats is an application that enables users to search FinCEN’s data for aggregated counts of defined suspicious activities. The data is updated monthly.
314(a) Facts and Figures: FinCEN publishes updated numbers every month on the 314(a) information sharing program (under Section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act). These numbers can be found here under the headings 314(a) Facts and Figures and Law Enforcement Information Sharing with the Financial Industry.
MSB Registrant Search Web page: With few exceptions, a money services business (MSB) is required to register with FinCEN. Every week FinCEN updates its list of registered MSBs. The MSB Registrant Search Web page is the public information source for MSBs registered with FinCEN.
Comments on Regulatory Proposals: Public comments received electronically or through the U.S. Postal Service sent in response to a “Notice and Request for Comment” are made available for public review as soon as possible on Regulations.gov. All comments received may be physically inspected in the FinCEN reading room located in Vienna, VA. Reading room appointments are available weekdays (excluding holidays) between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., by calling the Disclosure Officer at (703) 905-5034 (not a toll free call). FinCEN posts links to all comments received on pending and past regulatory proposals.
FOIA: FinCEN maintains records that primarily pertain to its practices, operations as a network, and means of bringing people and information together to fight the complex problems of money laundering and terrorist financing. FinCEN makes certain records available without requiring a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, including news releases and announcements, testimony and speeches, rulings, advisories, bulletins, fact sheets, analytical reports, Federal Register Notices, copies of records disclosed in response to a FOIA request that have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests, and FinCEN’s FOIA Annual Reports. Individuals should ensure that the information they seek is not already in the public domain before submitting FOIA requests. FinCEN has some information available to the public listed in its electronic reading room at https://www.fincen.gov/reading-room-records. Also, a search of the FinCEN homepage can assist requesters in locating information about FinCEN and lists of available publications. If the information is not in the public domain, FinCEN provides suggestions for preparing a FOIA request.
Recognizing the Value of BSA Reporting: FinCEN hosts an annual Law Enforcement Awards Ceremony, during which Director Shasky Calvery recognizes criminal cases where BSA reporting played a significant role in successful prosecutions. These cases demonstrate that the reporting and transparency that financial institutions provide under FinCEN’s regulations can result in some of the most important information available to law enforcement.
International Engagements: FinCEN engages with foreign financial intelligence units (FIUs) and other counterparts on analytical, regulatory, and operational issues in order to strengthen information sharing mechanisms and increase international collaboration. FinCEN serves as the FIU for the United States and is one of more than 100 FIUs making up the Egmont Group, an international entity focused on information sharing and cooperation. FinCEN also supports the U.S. delegation to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in its efforts to revise international standards concerning FIUs and international cooperation. FinCEN staff members serve on U.S. interagency delegations to the meetings of the eight FATF-style regional bodies (FSRBs), providing expertise on FIU-related issues. In addition, FinCEN hosts foreign delegations to discuss issues of mutual interest. Several of these visits occur as part of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program.