More Midsize Banks Forming SAR Committees to Avoid Reporting Mistakes, Say Compliance Professionals

By Brian Monroe

Once confined to large banks, the practice of forming teams to review suspicious activity reports ahead of regulatory filing deadlines is increasingly being adopted by midsize financial institutions, say compliance professionals. The groups, known as SAR committees, can help anti-money laundering (AML) compliance teams better explain complex financial activity, avoid regulatory reporting errors and document their decisions, they say. Since the mid-2000s, most large banks have adopted the practice, which is not required under federal regulations. "The decisions on SARs are so important and there are so many ramifications that the decision is better made by committee," said Robert Serino,...