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OCC Bulletin 2007-37 | August 31, 2007

Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering: Requests by Law Enforcement for Financial Institutions to Maintain Accounts


Chief Executive Officers, BSA Officers, and Compliance Officers of All National Banks; Federal Branches and Agencies; Technology Service Providers; Department and Division Heads; and All Examining Personnel

On June 13, 2007, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued new guidance addressing "Requests by Law Enforcement for Financial Institutions to Maintain Accounts." The guidance details procedures an institution should follow when a law enforcement agency requests it to maintain an account that may be associated with suspicious or criminal activity.

While banks are not required to maintain such an account, complying with a law enforcement request may aid efforts in combating money laundering and terrorist financing. In an attempt to comply with a law enforcement request, a financial institution should first ask for the request in writing from an appropriate source, such as an attorney within the United States Attorney’s Office, or a supervisor of a state or local law enforcement agency. The written request should, at a minimum, state that a law enforcement agency is requesting that the financial institution maintain a specific account; the agency’s name and affiliation; the name of the account; the purpose of the request, e.g., monitoring; and the duration of the requested activity.

Financial institutions that choose to maintain accounts at the request of law enforcement must continue to comply with all applicable Bank Secrecy Act recordkeeping requirements, including the requirement to file Suspicious Activity Reports.

Attached is a copy of the FinCEN issuance.

Ann F. Jaedicke
Deputy Comptroller for Compliance Policy

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