On August 18, 2020, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a statement outlining the agency’s approach to enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act (“BSA”), including anti-money laundering (“AML”) regulations issued by FinCEN pursuant to the BSA. As described in a press release accompanying the statement, the document “aims to provide clarity and transparency to [FinCEN’s] approach when contemplating compliance or enforcement actions against covered financial institutions that violate the BSA.”
This relatively brief statement apparently represents FinCEN’s first published guidance that comprehensibly identifies the agency’s enforcement priorities and policies, and it may reflect an effort by FinCEN to place more emphasis on its enforcement function. The statement lacks the details of enforcement guidance published by other agencies on issues of trade and financial regulation, such as Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”). While many of the topics covered by the FinCEN statement will be familiar to covered financial institutions, there are also a few noteworthy clarifications in the statement.