WASHINGTON—The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has completed a report on its assessment of whether to establish a process for the issuance of no-action letters in response to inquiries concerning the application of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and other anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism laws to specific conduct. Pursuant to Section 6305 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020 (AML Act), the report was delivered on June 28, 2021 to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and the House Committee on Financial Services. FinCEN’s assessment included consultation with the Attorney General, the Federal functional regulators, State bank supervisors, State credit union supervisors, and other Federal agencies, as required by the AML Act.
“FinCEN concludes that a no-action letter process would be a useful complement to its current forms of regulatory guidance and relief,” said Acting Director Michael Mosier. “FinCEN looks forward to continuing to engage with our government partners and the public during a future rulemaking process to ensure all constructive feedback is considered on this important issue.”
A no-action letter is generally understood to be a form of enforcement discretion where an agency states by letter that it will not take an enforcement action against the submitting party for the specific conduct presented to the agency. In conducting the assessment, FinCEN analyzed various issues, including a timeline for the process for FinCEN to reach a final decision, in consultation with the relevant Federal functional regulators, to a request for a no-action letter; whether improvements in current processes are necessary; and whether a formal no-action process would help to mitigate or accentuate illicit finance risks in the United States. As set forth in the report, FinCEN concluded that it should plan towards a rulemaking to create a process for issuing no-action letters in addition to its current forms of regulatory guidance and relief, with the timing subject to resource limitations and competing priorities.