The U.S. Treasury Department is readying a program to share intelligence from law enforcement agencies with the banks charged with identifying suspicious transactions, an official said Thursday.
The potential expanded use of a Patriot Act data-sharing authority would help Bank Secrecy Act officers better identify suspicious account activity and avoid costly enforcement actions, say industry experts.
U.S. financial institutions and their regulators will eventually need to collect and analyze increasingly large volumes of information on their clients and compliance efforts, bankers and officials said Monday.
Dozens of U.S. banks have begun sharing suspicious transaction data without the use of formal bank-to-bank requests in an effort to better detect potential fraud and money laundering, say compliance officers.
The U.S. Treasury Department issued rules Friday broadening the types of law enforcement data requests banks can receive to include queries from foreign officials and investigations tied to additional crimes.
Information on tax evasion and asset recovery cases will likely top data-sharing requests filed by foreign governments with the United States over the next three to five years, say analysts.
Some 17 federal law enforcement agencies issued 826 requests to financial institutions, garnering nearly 49,000 positive matches and 41 convictions, a rate of about 5 percent, according to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Many bank employees can't differentiate between SAR-related and other information requests they receive from law enforcement agencies, regulators and other financial institutions. As a result, some hinder financial investigations by ignoring the requests.