Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Office of Thrift Supervision
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
National Credit Union Administration
Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission for OMB
Review; Comment Request; Suspicious Activity Report
AGENCIES: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), Office of Thrift Supervision (OTS),
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), National Credit Union
ACTION: Submission for OMB review; joint comment request.
SUMMARY: In accordance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction
Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), FinCEN, OCC, OTS, FDIC, and NCUA
(collectively, the ``agencies'') hereby give notice that they plan to
submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requests for review
of the information collections described below.
Although the OCC, OTS, FDIC, NCUA, and FinCEN are submitting the
SAR information collection to OMB for extension, the Board of Governors
of the Federal Reserve System (the Board) has participated in the
review of this information collection and will process its extension
under its Paperwork Reduction Act delegated authority.
On September 28, 1999, the agencies including the Board, requested
public comment on the revision of the Suspicious Activity Report, which
is being streamlined and reformatted for four-digit dates (a Year 2000
change). The OCC also requested comments on all information collections
contained in 12 CFR part 21. The agencies are making the changes
proposed and are making several additional changes suggested by the
commenters. None of the changes will impose substantial additional
burden on respondents.
DATES: Written comments should be received on or before February 7,
2000. The SAR form will be issued by the agencies with sufficient time
ADDRESSES: You are invited to submit a written comment to any or all of
the agencies. In addition, you should send a copy of your comment to
the OMB desk officer for the agencies. Direct all written comments as
FinCEN: Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, Department of the
Treasury, Suite 200, 2070 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, VA 22182-2536,
Attention: Revised SAR. Comments also may be submitted by electronic
mail to the following Internet address:
``firstname.lastname@example.org'' with the caption in the body of the
text, ``Attention: Revised SAR.''
OCC: Communications Division, Office of the Comptroller of the
Currency, 250 E Street, SW., Third Floor, Attention: 1557-0180,
Washington, DC 20219. In addition, comments may be sent by facsimile
transmission to (202) 874-5274, or by electronic mail to
OTS: Manager, Dissemination Branch, Information Management and
Services, Office of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington,
DC 20552, Attention 1550-0003. These submissions may be hand delivered
to 1700 G Street, NW., lower level, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on business
days; they may be sent by facsimile transmission to FAX Number (202)
906-7755; or they may be sent by e-mail: email@example.com.
Those commenting by e-mail should include their name and telephone
number. Comments over 25 pages in length should be sent to FAX Number
(202) 906-6956. Comments will be available for inspection at 1700 G
Street, NW., from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on business days. Copies of the
form are available for inspection at 1700 G Street, NW., from 9 a.m.
until 4 p.m. on business days.
FDIC: Written comments should be addressed to Robert E. Feldman,
Executive Secretary, Attention: Comments/OES, Federal Deposit Insurance
Corporation, 550 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20429. Comments may
be hand-delivered to the guard station at the rear of the 550 17th
Street Building (located on F Street), on business days between 7 a.m.
and 5 p.m. [FAX number (202) 898-3838: Internet address:
firstname.lastname@example.org]. Comments may be inspected and photocopied in the
FDIC Public Information Center, Room 100, 801 17th Street, NW.,
Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., on business days.
NCUA: Clearance Officer: Mr. James L. Baylen, (703) 518-6410,
National Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA
22314-3428, Fax No. 703-518-6433, E-mail:email@example.com.
OMB: Alexander T. Hunt, Office of Information and Regulatory
Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office
Building, Room 3208, Washington, DC 20503.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: You may request additional information
or a copy of the collection by contacting:
FinCEN: Deborah Groome, (703) 905-3744, or Scott Lodge, (703) 905-
3606, both of the Office of Data Systems Support, Financial Crimes
Enforcement Network, 2070 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna, VA 22182-2536.
OCC: Jessie Dunaway or Camille Dixon, Legislative and Regulatory
Activities Division, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 250 E
Street, SW., Washington DC 20219, (202) 874-5090.
OTS: Richard Stearns, Deputy Chief Counsel for Enforcement, Office
of Thrift Supervision, 1700 G Street, NW., Washington, DC 20552, (202)
FDIC: Tamara R. Manly, Office of the Executive Secretary, FDIC, 550
17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20429, (202) 898-7453.
NCUA: James L. Baylen, NCUA Clearance Officer, (703) 518-6410, or
John K. Ianno, Office of General Counsel, (703) 518-6540, National
Credit Union Administration, 1775 Duke Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-
Title: Suspicious Activity Report. (The OCC is renewing all
information collections covered under the information collection
titled: ``(MA)--Minimum Security Devices and Procedures, Reports of
Suspicious Activities, and Bank Secrecy Act Compliance Program (12 CFR
Abstract: In 1985, the agencies issued procedures to be used by
banks, thrifts, credit unions, their holding companies and certain
other financial institutions operating in the United States to report
known or suspected criminal activities to the appropriate law
enforcement agencies and the agencies. Beginning in 1994, the agencies
completely redesigned the reporting process. This redesign resulted in
the existing Suspicious Activity Report, which became effective in
\1\ The report is authorized by the following rules: 31 CFR
103.21 (FinCEN); 12 CFR 21.11 (OCC); 12 CFR 563.180 (OTS); 12 CFR
353.3 (FDIC); 12 CFR 748.1 (NCUA). The rules were issued under the
authority of 31 U.S.C. 5318(g) (FinCEN); 12 U.S.C. 93a, 1818, 1881-
84, 3401-22, 31 U.S.C. 5318 (OCC); 12 U.S.C. 1463 and 1464 (OTS); 12
U.S.C. 93a, 1818, 1881-84, 3401-22 (FDIC); 12 U.S.C. 1766(a),
Comments Received: On September 28, 1999, the agencies requested
public comment for 60 days on the proposed revisions to the Suspicious
Activity Report (64 FR 52363). The agencies received 17 comments,
generally favorable, regarding the proposal. Three commenters were
banking trade associations; three were national banks; two were credit
union trade associations, two were credit unions, two were foreign
banks, two were OCC employees, one was a state bank, and one was a
brokerage house and a bank holding company. Further discussion of the
comments received and action taken in response to those comments occurs
later in this Notice.
Current Actions: The agencies are proposing to revise the SAR to a
certain extent, but are not proposing to make substantial additions to
the content of the information collected. The revisions would address a
number of data collection, entry, and analysis problems encountered by
filers and the end users of the information. In general, the revisions
conform all date items to a four-digit year (Year 2000 change), make a
number of other ministerial changes such as renumbering items, clarify
the form, improve its usefulness to law enforcement and the agencies,
and adopt various commenters' suggestions.
The agencies are expanding the blocks for a number of items to
provide additional room for the requested information. Thus, the Zip
Code blocks are expanded to provide room for a nine-digit Zip Code.
Dollar blocks are expanded to provide more room for amounts (and lines
are added to these items to separate digits).
A number of items now on the form are deleted. The questions
regarding the asset size of the financial institution (Item 10 of the
form now in use) is deleted. The question asking for the address of the
law enforcement agency contacted is deleted and is replaced by a
question asking for the name and telephone number of the person
contacted in the law enforcement agency. The section ``Witness
Information'' (Part IV of the form now is use) and the section
``Preparer Information'' (Part V of the form now in use) are deleted.
The section ``Contact Information'' (Part VI of the form now in use) is
all that will be required and the ``Institution Contact'' will be
expected to be able to provide witness and preparer information to the
agencies and to law enforcement investigators.
The agencies are clarifying several items on the form. The question
concerning the type of report is clarified by eliminating ``Initial
Report'' and ``Supplemental Report.'' Thus, the question asks only
whether the report being filed is an ``Amended Report.'' If the report
is an initial report or a supplemental report, the filer should just
leave this question blank. However, if the report is correcting an
earlier report, the filer should mark the ``Amended Report'' box and
should fill out the information as directed on the form. The question
regarding insider relationships is clarified by adding a box that asks,
initially, whether the relationship is an insider relationship. A check
box is added to the heading of Suspect Information for use if suspect
information is unavailable. Under the section entitled Suspicious
Activity Information, instead of the space now on the form for writing
in the name of the law enforcement agency contacted, check boxes are
added for indicating the specific law enforcement agency contacted. The
instruction regarding the type of instrument involved (Part VII of the
form now in use, Instruction k) is clarified by adding examples of the
types of instruments.
The agencies are revising the question regarding the summary
characterization of the activity by adding a new box ``Computer
Intrusion.'' In the past, filers reporting computer intrusions either
checked the ``Other'' box (Item 37r of the form now in use) and
provided additional information in the space beside the box, or
provided the information on the summary page. Additionally, the
agencies are expanding the instructions to provide guidance regarding
the circumstances constituting computer intrusion.
Comments Received and Agency Action Taken. The commenters raised
various issues, some of which will need further agency monitoring and
consideration, and others which can be resolved by fine-tuning the SAR.
The comments, sorted by subject, and the agencies' responses follow.
I. Further Agency Monitoring and Consideration
Commenters suggested some areas of change that will require further
agency monitoring and consideration. Some of the comments did not
pertain to the issuance of the SAR and, consequently, will not be
addressed here. Two of the comments were as follows:
(1) Incorrect SARs: One commenter suggested that FinCEN should
return an incorrectly completed SAR to the institution submitting it so
that the SAR can be resubmitted correctly.
The agencies agree with the commenter's concerns and believe that
accurate and complete SAR filings are important to an effective
program. The SAR data base manager is in the process of developing an
error resolution process for the system. However, the primary
responsibility for accurately filling out a SAR and reviewing its
accuracy falls to the management and staff of the institution. If an
institution determines that it has filed an inaccurate or incomplete
SAR, it should timely file an amended form.
(2) Electronic Filing: Two commenters indicated that it would be
beneficial to allow for electronic filing of the SAR.
The agencies agree that the ability to file SARs electronically
would be beneficial and are working towards that goal, keeping in mind
the security and confidentiality issues associated with such filings.
II. SAR Changes Considered
The 17 commenters made several suggestions regarding revisions to
the SAR itself. Those suggestions and the agencies' responses to those
(1) Initial/Supplemental/Amended Reports. The SAR should explain
the box for supplemental reports.
In order to streamline the form, the agencies are removing the
check boxes for ``Initial Report'' and ``Supplemental Report.''
Instead, a box for amended reports is added for use only if the filer
is correcting a prior report.
(2) Primary Regulator. Item 3 of the form now in use should be
modified to include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a
``Primary Federal Regulator.''
The agencies believe that it is unnecessary to add the SEC to this
field as the SAR is designed for use by the agencies and by the
financial institutions that the agencies supervise.
(3) Location of Branch Where Activity Occurred. The SAR should be
clarified to indicate which branch or subsidiary of a foreign bank
should file the SAR and which primary regulator should be identified.
The agencies believe that the branch where the suspicious activity
occurred should be the branch that is identified under the heading
Reporting Financial Institution Information. In addition, the SAR
should identify as the Primary Federal Regulator the agency that
supervises the branch or subsidiary where the suspicious activity
(4) Multiple Branches. The SAR should be corrected with regard to
the instructions for listing multiple branches because there are no
such instructions given. In addition, the form should provide for an
entry which indicates, when appropriate, that no branch was involved.
The agencies agree with the first of these two comments and are
striking the phrase ``(see instructions)'' in Item 9 of the proposed
form. The agencies will place the directions for listing multiple
branches on the form. With regard to the second comment, the agencies
note that if no branch is involved, the filer can simply leave that
part of the form blank.
(5) Multiple Suspects. There should be a way for an institution to
enter multiple suspects without preparing a duplicate page 1 which asks
for institution-related information as well as suspect-related
The institution, in filling out multiple pages for additional
suspect information, can simply leave the institution-related
information on the multiple pages blank since it was already provided
on page 1.
(6) Forms of Identification. In Item 28 of the proposed form, 28(e)
and (f) should be deleted and the information requested, ``number'' and
``issuing authority'' of the form of identification, should be
incorporated within 28(a)-(d).
The agencies agree with this suggestion and are modifying this item
so that the identifying number and issuing authority are listed next to
each form of identification listed in 28(a)-(d).
(7) Types of Suspects. The agencies should add ``Monetary
Instrument Purchaser'' and ``Account Applicant'' to the list of types
of suspects and their relationship to the institution in Item 31 of the
form currently in use.
The agencies believe that this addition is unnecessary. An
institution can indicate ``Customer'' in these situations (although in
some instances the individual may be turned away as an actual customer)
or the institution can use the ``Other'' category.
(8) No Relationship to Institution. There should be a box within
Item 31 of the form currently in use for the filer to indicate that the
suspect has no relationship with the institution.
The agencies believe that this is unnecessary since the filer can
either leave this section blank or can use the ``Other'' line to
indicate the nature of the suspect.
(9) Confession. Item 34 of the form currently in use and Item 32 of
the proposed form should be moved so that it is not juxtaposed to
insider related information and thus confusing as to whether it applies
only to insiders.
The agencies wish to collect information concerning a confession
with regard to all suspects. Consequently, to clarify this, the
agencies will physically move this item on the form so that it is
separate from the insider related information.
(10) Range of Dates. The form should permit the filer to put down a
range of dates over which the suspicious activity occurred rather than
just one date.
The proposed form, in Item 33, will permit the filer to put in a
range of dates.
(11) Computer Intrusion. The agencies should better define computer
intrusion. Further, they should include specific examples of what would
and would not be covered.
The agencies believe that the current definition is appropriate.
(12) Identity Theft. There should be an additional box under Item
37 of the form currently in use, ``Summary characterization of
suspicious activity,'' to include ``identity theft'' as a specific
The agencies agree that identity theft is an important category of
criminal activity. However, identity theft is frequently linked with
other crimes that are specifically enumerated on the SAR, such as check
fraud and credit card fraud. In addition, there are already 18 specific
boxes under this category and institutions can use the ``Other'' box to
report identity theft. Therefore, the agencies have decided, at this
time, not to revise the SAR to include ``identity theft'' as a new
category and expect that institutions will continue to use the
``Other'' box, or use other appropriate boxes. The agencies will
continue to monitor this area and will reconsider their decision if
(13) Contacting Law Enforcement. In Item 40 of the proposed form
there should be a ``Yes/No'' box indicating whether or not the filer
has contacted a law enforcement agency.
The agencies believe that such a change is unnecessary since
answering this item or leaving it blank will indicate whether or not
the filer has contacted a law enforcement agency. Further, the agencies
wish to eliminate as many entries on the form as possible.
(14) Witness Information. The agencies should either delete Part IV
of the form currently in use, pertaining to Witness Information, or
they should delete the requirement for a social security number of the
witness. This requirement is unnecessary and potentially invasive of
the individual's privacy.
The agencies agree with these comments and have decided to delete
Part IV altogether. The agencies, however, expect that the
``Institution Contact,'' named in Part VI of the form currently in use,
will maintain or will have access to all pertinent documentation and
witness information for the agencies and law enforcement.
(15) Preparer Information. The agencies should retain Part V of the
form currently in use, pertaining to Preparer Information, so that the
``Institution Contact'' can readily determine who prepared the form and
where the necessary underlying information is.
The agencies believe that the ``Institution Contact'' should be
able to maintain this information without the assistance of the form.
In addition, as noted above, the agencies wish to eliminate as many
entries on the form as possible.
(16) Instructions on the Narrative Explanation. The agencies should
highlight the instructions in Part VII of the form currently in use,
pertaining to the narrative explanation, by moving the instruction ``If
necessary, continue the narrative on a duplicate of this page,'' to the
bottom of the page and putting it in bold type.
In order to highlight this instruction, the agencies will put the
instruction in bold type, but will leave it where it is, at the top of
(17) Instructions on the Narrative Explanation. The agencies should
delete many of the instructions in Part VII of the form currently in
use in that they do not pertain strictly to the requirement for a
The agencies believe that it is appropriate to retain in this
section of the proposed form all the existing instructions contained in
Part VII of the form currently in use.
Type of Review: Revision of a currently approved collection.
Affected Public: Business, for-profit institutions, and non-profit
Estimated Number of Respondents:
\3\ A respondent need only file one form. The estimated burden
per form is 30 minutes; this estimate does not allocate time between
agencies when copies of the form are filed to satisfy the rules of
more than one agency.
An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required
to respond to, a collection of information unless the collection of
information displays a valid OMB control number. A respondent must
retain the supporting records to the SAR for five years. Generally,
information collected pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act is confidential,
but may be shared as provided by law with regulatory and law
Request for Comments: Comments are invited on:
(a) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the
proper performance of the functions of the agencies, including whether
the information shall have practical utility;
(b) The accuracy of the agencies' estimate of the burden of the
collection of information;
(c) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
information to be collected;
(d) Ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on
respondents, including through the use of automated collection
techniques or other forms of information technology; and
(e) Estimates of capital or start-up costs and costs of operation,
maintenance and purchase of services to provide information.
Dated: December 27, 1999.
Connie J. Fenchel,
Acting Director, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Dated: December 29, 1999.
Director, Legislative and Regulatory Activities Division, Office of the
Comptroller of the Currency.
Dated: December 28, 1999.
Chief Information Officer and Director, Office of Information Systems,
Office of Thrift Supervision.
By Order of the Board of Directors.
Dated at Washington, DC, this 28th day of December, 1999.
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.
Robert E. Feldman,
By the National Credit Union Administration Board on December
Secretary of the Board.
[FR Doc. 00-189 Filed 1-6-00; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4820-03-P