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Financial Institution Letters


SPECIAL ALERT

FIL-87-2001
September 28, 2001

TO: CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER
SUBJECT: Financial Institutions Hotline Relating To Terrorist Activity

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has established a FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS HOTLINE, 1-866-556-3974, for financial institutions to voluntarily report to law enforcement suspicious transactions that may relate to recent terrorist activity against the United States. The purpose of the Hotline is to facilitate the immediate transmittal of this information to law enforcement. It will be operational seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

Information pertaining to the Office of Foreign Assets Control's (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals List, or questions concerning the financial institution's compliance with OFAC regulations, should be directed to OFAC's Compliance Programs Branch at 1-800-540-6322.

FDIC-supervised financial institutions identifying suspicious transactions are required to report such transactions by filing a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) in accordance with 12 CFR Part 353, even if they provide information over the Financial Institutions Hotline. Institutions should file the SAR with the IRS Detroit Computing Center as soon as possible. The Hotline is intended to provide to law enforcement and other authorized recipients of SAR information the essence of the suspicious activity in an expedited fashion. The Hotline use is voluntary and does not negate an institution's responsibility to file a SAR in accordance with applicable regulations. For your information, the SAR form, along with the instructions, may be found at http://www.fincen.gov/reg_bsaforms.html.

Financial institutions identifying such suspicious financial activity on a SAR can assist law enforcement by:

  • capturing the information on the SAR accurately and completely;
  • explaining the suspicious transaction as completely as possible in the narrative section; and
  • including the following information if applicable - any correspondent bank name/account information; names/locations of business entities; names of cities, countries and foreign financial institutions linked to the transaction, especially if wire transfer activity is involved; and account numbers and beneficiary names.

In addition, institutions preparing SARs are asked to check the "Other" box on Part III, Line 35(s), of the SAR form and to type in "terrorism" immediately following the box.

Nothing in this announcement precludes a financial institution from directly contacting law enforcement or the institution's federal regulator concerning these issues.

Questions or comments concerning FDIC SPECIAL ALERTS, as well as information relating to information contained in the "Alerts," may be directed to alert@fdic.gov.

For your reference, all FDIC Financial Institution Letters published since January of 1995 may be found on the FDIC's Web site at www.fdic.gov under "Newsroom, Events & FOIA." To learn how to automatically receive FDIC Financial Institution Letters through e-mail, please visit http://www.fdic.gov/news/news/announcements/index.html.

Michael J. Zamorski
Acting Director

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 (800-276-6003 or (703) 562-2200).

Last Updated 09/28/2001 communications@fdic.gov