Circular
U. S. Treasury to Reinstate USA Patriot Act Section 314(A) Information Requests
February 13, 2003
Circular No. 11500

To All Depository Institutions and Others Concerned in the Second Federal Reserve District:

In a supervisory letter (SR 03-3), the Federal Reserve Board announced that the U.S. Department of Treasury would reinstate 314(a) information requests of the USA PATRIOT Act. This section authorizes law enforcement authorities to communicate with banking organizations and financial institutions about suspected money launderers and terrorists.

The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has developed an electronic system to implement Section 314(a). Due to problems associated with the mass distribution of information requests, a moratorium was put in place on November 26, 2002 for all new and existing requests until certain logistical issues were addressed and additional guidance could be developed.

The 314(a) information requests will be reinstated during the week of February 17, 2003. Significant changes to the 314(a) process include:

  • 314(a) requests from FinCEN will be batched and issued every two weeks, unless otherwise indicated in the request.
  • After receipt of a 314(a) request, financial institutions will have two weeks to complete their searches and respond with any matches.
  • Searches will be limited to specific records and, unless otherwise noted, will be a one-time search.

If a financial institution identifies a match for a named subject, the institution need only respond to FinCEN that it has a match and provide contact information for the requesting law enforcement agency to follow-up directly with the institution.

In order to ensure the most effective distribution of information requests about matters related to money laundering and terrorist funding activities, banking organizations are requested to assure that FinCEN has the most complete and up-to-date contact information possible.

FinCEN's Press Release, Instructions and FAQs can be found on its website at www.fincen.gov. The announcement and reporting instructions are attached.

Questions on this matter may be directed, at this Bank to Nicholas Farco, Examining Officer, Legal and Compliance Risk Department.