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Financial Institution Letters

Bank Secrecy Act

FIL-67-2004
June 10, 2004


TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER (also of interest to BSA Compliance Officer)
SUBJECT: Interagency Advisory – Federal Court Reaffirms Protections for Financial Institutions Filing Suspicious Activity Reports
Summary: The Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the five federal financial institution supervisory agencies have jointly issued findings from a recent court case reaffirming the Safe Harbor status for Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Office of Thrift Supervision, the National Credit Union Administration and the Department of the Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) are issuing the attached Interagency Advisory, which addresses a Federal Court reaffirmation protecting financial institutions and their employees from civil liability for filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR).

The advisory describes the findings of the court in the case of Whitney Nat'l Bank v. Karam, 306 F. Supp.2d 678 (S.D. Tex. 2004). While the Whitney court ruled in a case involving a national bank and the rules and regulations of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the five federal financial institution supervisory agencies and FinCEN believe that the court's rulings apply to all financial institutions that file SARs in accordance with suspicious activity reporting rules/

For your reference, FDIC Financial Institution Letters may be accessed from the FDIC's Web site at http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/financial/2004/index.html.

Michael J. Zamorski
Director
Division of Supervision and Consumer Protection
William F. Kroener III
General Counsel

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Attachment

Distribution: FDIC-Supervised Banks (Commercial and Savings)

NOTE: Paper copies of FDIC financial institution letters may be obtained through the FDIC's Public Information Center, 801 17th Street, NW, Room 100, Washington, DC 20434 (1-877-275-3342 or (703) 562-2200).




Last Updated 06/10/2004 communications@fdic.gov