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Inactive Financial Institution Letters

Section 4
Tips on SAR Form Preparation & Filing

The information obtained from the filing of SARs plays an important role in identifying potential and actual illegal activities, such as money laundering, fraud and abuse, and it assists in the detection and prevention of the flow of illicit funds through our financial system. For these reasons, it is critical that the information being conveyed in SAR filings be as accurate and complete as is possible. The following tips will assist in ensuring the accuracy and completeness of SAR filings:

  • The narrative section of the SAR should provide a detailed description of the known or suspected violation of law or suspicious activity. While detailed suspect information may not always be available (e.g., in situations involving non-account holders), such information should be included to the maximum extent possible.
  • Supporting documents should never be attached to a SAR form. If a filer has documentation relating to the suspicious activity being reported, reference should be made to the existence of the documentation in the narrative section of the SAR form. However, the actual documentation should be maintained on file at the organization for a minimum period of five years.
  • Filers are encouraged to adopt and utilize a standardized format for identify-ing the reporting organization on the SAR form (e.g., Community Bank of the U.S.A., or Community Bank of the United States of America). Along with the organization name and EIN, a complete address, including city, state, and zip code, should always be included on the SAR form.
  • A SAR should always identify the organization’s primary Federal regulator.
  • When reporting the “total dollar amount involved in known or suspicious activity,” only whole dollar amounts should be listed, no cents (e.g., indicate $10,000, not $10,000.74). If there is no actual dollar amount connected to the suspicious activity, “0” should be entered on the form. Monetary values reflected on the SAR form should always be entered as U.S. dollars. If a suspicious transaction involves a foreign currency, indicate this fact in the narrative section of the SAR form--also provide the type/name of the foreign currency, the amount of the transaction, and the conversion rate used to reach the U.S. dollar figure.
  • SARs are properly filed with the IRS’ Detroit Computing Center (DCC). Magnetically filed (disk) and paper SARs should be addressed to “FinCEN, Detroit Computing Center, P.O. Box 33980, Detroit, MI 48232-0908.”

    SAR Form Completion—National Overview

    The following chart provides a statistical breakout of the percentage completion rate for each field on the SAR form for all SARs in the national database (ap-proximately 400,000 records at time of this report). Each row of the chart is keyed to successive fields on the SAR form. Additional columns represent all financial institutions, grouped under the appropriate regulator as reported by the institution. Intersection of a row and column shows the percentage completion rate for the specific field for all financial institutions for each regulator, and indicates if the percentage completion rate varies statistically above (A) or below (B) the national average for that field. (The “Other” column represents SARs filed either by non-bank financial institutions or by banks that did not identify their regulator.)

    SAR Form Completion Rate—National Database

    Field Number of Filings 18,064 21,352 3,948 78,108 16,363 258,582
    1 Report Type 93.62A 93.11A 96.22A 92.41A 91.70A 7.00B
    2 Name of Financial Institution 98.64 98.45 97.24 99.49A 99.29 98.17B
    3 Primary Federal Regulator 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A .00B
    4 Address of Financial Institution 99.96 99.98 99.86 99.98 99.99 99.86
    5 City 99.97 99.99 99.92 99.99 99.99 99.87
    6 State 99.88 99.95 99.86 99.99 99.97 99.76
    7 Zip Code 99.81 99.86 99.76 99.97 99.96 99.72
    8 EIN or TIN 94.62 95.81 80.50B 98.02A 98.15A 92.89B
    10 Address of Branch Office(s) 100 100 100 100 100 100
    15a Account Number(s) Affected 76.26B 81.51A 81.97A 83.19A 86.74A 72.24B
    15b Account Number(s) Affected 9.26B 13.70A 11.65 11.2 12.39A 10.00B
    16 Related Accounts Closed? 0 0 0 0 0 0
    17,18,19 Suspect Name 98.74 99.37 98.74 99.59 99.7 99.33
    20 Address 86.43B 93.32A 95.24A 89.07B 97.04A 91.18
    21 SSN, EIN, or TIN 65.76B 79.71A 85.99A 71.35A 78.04A 67.39B
    22 City 88.10B 93.46A 95.09A 89.29B 97.05A 91.26
    23 State 84.88B 91.31A 94.37A 86.92B 92.94A 88.32
    24 Zip Code 80.06B 89.24A 93.50A 84.63B 92.16A 85.82
    25 Country 63.68A 46.85B 28.03B 60.20A 62.72A 42.14B
    26 Date of Birth 55.81 62.42A 88.29A 52.20B 71.13A 55.11B
    27 Phone Number - Residence 53.34B 62.43A 85.45A 46.79B 73.11A 56.75A
    28 Phone Number - Work 33.08B 43.82A 42.80A 39.06A 46.93A 35.07B
    29 Occupation 49.77A 66.00A 59.64A 41.79B 46.25 44.97B
    30a-d Forms of Identification 42.20B 58.47A 71.61A 39.18B 66.31A 47.54A
    30e IDN Number 34.47B 49.86A 52.84A 34.06B 61.23A 39.25B
    30f Issuing Authority 31.23B 44.81A 41.79A 31.10B 57.77A 34.89B
    31 Relationship to Fin Inst 0 0 0 0 0 0
    32 Insider Suspect Still Affiliated? 0 0 0 0 0 0
    33 Date: Susp/Term/Resign 0 0 0 0 0 0
    34 Admission/Confession 0 0 0 0 0 0
    35 Suspicious Activity Date 90.96B 90.54B 87.74B 96.84A 97.81A 93.34B
    36 Violation Dollar Amount 100 100 100 100 100 100
    37a-r Violation 83.12B 98.10A 95.98 97.96A 96.95 96.09
    37r-desc Violation (Other) 97.37A 98.23A 97.39A 95.78A 97.33A 5.37B
    38 Loss Prior to Recovery 100 100 100 100 100 100
    39 Amount of Recovery 100 100 100 100 100 100
    40 Soundness Affected? 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A 100.00A 7.51B
    41 Bonding Co. Notified? 0 0 0 0 0 0
    42 Law Enforce Referral 17.78 23.59A 33.40A 13.95B 15.43B 20.54A
    43 Address 13.59 17.85A 25.80A 10.46B 12.97B 15.96A
    44 City 15.5 19.81A 28.43A 12.12B 13.87B 17.74A
    45 State 15.44 19.81A 28.03A 12.13B 13.94B 17.61A
    46 Zip Code 13.76B 18.53A 25.61A 10.81B 13.16B 16.79A
    47,48,49 Witness Name 98.64 99.22 98.56 99.13 99.13 98.72
    50 Address 80.35B 88.6 92.56A 88.58 96.29A 89.68A
    51 SSN 39.48B 58.89A 75.00A 36.84B 51.93A 47.60A
    52 City 85.74 90.41A 91.72A 78.81B 94.81A 87.83A
    53 State 89.69A 91.31A 91.30A 76.99B 94.74A 87.25A
    54 Zip Code 76.26B 85.82A 90.19A 73.01B 93.24A 84.09A
    55 Date of Birth 29.18A 39.08A 55.73A 23.80A 34.84A 10.76B
    56 Title 0 0 0 0 0 0
    57 Phone Number 69.43B 86.57B 89.35 91.94A 90.97A 89.55A
    58 Interviewed? 0 0 0 0 0 0
    59,60,61 Preparer Information 98.26A 97.20A 95.90A 98.83A 98.87A 7.20B
    62 Title 97.68A 96.89A 93.91A 98.65A 98.53A 6.97B
    63 Phone Number 0 0 0 0 0 0
    64 Date 0 0 0.02 0 0 0
    65,66,67 Contact for Assistance 67.04A 60.45A 42.92A 43.89A 58.60A 3.81B
    68 Title 66.40A 59.13A 40.14A 43.45A 58.30A 3.75B
    Part VII Narrative 97.60A 94.69 76.33B 98.23A 99.05A 93.08B
    A = Statistically above the national average
    B = Statistically below the national average


Last Updated 11/17/2000

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