U.S. Treasury Issues Moratorium on Section 314(a) Information Requests
December 2, 2002
Circular No. 11476

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

In a supervisory letter (SR 02-21), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the other federal financial institutions supervisory agencies today issued a Joint Agency Notice that addresses two matters associated with section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act. This provision of the law authorizes law enforcement authorities to communicate with banking organizations and others about suspected money launderers and terrorists.

As described in the notice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) started using the authority granted by section 314(a) on November 4, 2002 by soliciting information on suspected money laundering and individuals and entities possibly associated with terrorist financing activities from financial institutions throughout the United States. FinCEN has since sent several other requests. There have been some problems associated with the mass distribution of information requests, and FinCEN is now working to address them in coordination with law enforcement authorities, banking organizations, their trade associations, the Federal Reserve, and the other agencies. Until the logistical problems can be resolved, FinCEN has called a moratorium on new information requests and compliance with existing requests.

In addition, FinCEN has advised the federal financial supervisory agencies that the FBI will discontinue the use of the "Control List" and instead will use the section 314(a) process to communicate with banking organizations and others about individuals and entities who are suspected of engaging in terrorist financing activities.

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 ensure that FinCEN has the most complete and up-to-date contact information possible. The notice lists the points of contact that can be used by banking organizations to provide new or updated information.

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