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What is the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and where is it used and by whom?

The Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) is a U.S. federal law that requires financial institutions, including banks, to report certain financial transactions and suspicious activity to the Department of the Treasury. The BSA was enacted in 1970 in an effort to combat money laundering and other financial crimes, and it is administered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.

The BSA requires financial institutions to report certain types of financial transactions, including large cash transactions, suspicious activity, and transactions involving foreign accounts. Financial institutions are also required to maintain records of these transactions and make them available to law enforcement agencies upon request.

The BSA applies to all financial institutions operating in the United States, including banks, credit unions, money service businesses, and broker-dealers in securities. It also applies to foreign financial institutions that do business in the United States or with U.S. customers.

The BSA is an important tool in the fight against money laundering and other financial crimes, as it helps law enforcement agencies detect and investigate suspicious activity and trace the flow of illicit funds. It is also an important component of the U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory framework, which aims to prevent financial institutions from being used to facilitate financial crimes.

This page was last updated on January 3, 2023.