June 19, 2000
Revised Suspicious Activity Report Form (SAR)
The five federal financial institutions supervisory agencies — the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision — together with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), today are issuing a newly revised Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) form.
Beginning immediately, financial institutions and organizations that are currently required to report suspicious activity pursuant to existing regulations of the federal financial institutions supervisory agencies and FinCEN may use the new SAR form to make these reports. Financial institutions and organizations may continue to use the existing SAR form while their procedures and systems are updated to make use of the new SAR form. However, no versions of the SAR form, other than the new SAR form that is being issued today, will be accepted after December 31, 2000.
The revisions to the SAR form reflect comments from filers and users on how to make the SAR form easier to complete and to provide more useful and timely information. Consistent with this goal, several revisions have been made to the new SAR form being issued today. In addition to modifying the layout of the SAR form for easier use, the agencies have:
- Added a check box for "Computer Intrusion" to Part III, "Suspicious Activity Information," in recognition of the need to obtain more specific information with regard to computer related suspicious activity. Along with the addition of the check box in Part III, a specific definition of "Computer Intrusion" has been added to the "When to Make a Report" instructions at number 2.
- Deleted the two sections requiring witness and preparer information and have replaced these sections with Part IV, "Contact for Assistance".
- Replaced the requirements to provide the name and address of any law enforcement authorities contacted with regard to the suspicious activity being reported with Part III, "Suspicious Activity Information", items 40 through 44, to include check boxes for the law enforcement agencies contacted and to list the names and telephone numbers of law enforcement personnel contacted.
- Deleted the requirement to identify whether a SAR is an "Initial Report", "Corrected Report", or "Supplemental Report". Instead, filers will only be required to identify when a SAR is being filed to correct a prior SAR. Specific instructions on filing a SAR to correct a prior report have been added in the "How to Make a Report" instructions at number 3.
Along with the issuance of the new SAR form, a copy of which is attached to this announcement, guidance for the preparation of SAR forms has been prepared and is being distributed with the new SAR form. The guidance provides valuable information on the preparation and filing of SAR forms.
In addition to the new SAR form, new software has been developed and is available to assist in the preparation and filing of SAR forms. The new SAR software, as well as the new SAR form, are available on the websites of the federal financial institutions supervisory agencies and FinCEN. The website addresses are: the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, www.federalreserve.gov; the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, www.fdic.gov; the National Credit Union Administration, www.ncua.gov; the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, www.occ.treas.gov; the Office of Thrift Supervision, www.ots.treas.gov; and FinCEN, www.treas.gov/fincen. Each of these websites will have available the new SAR form, the guidance for the SAR form and the new SAR software or instructions on how to obtain these materials from other websites.
With the issuance of the new SAR form and SAR software, financial institutions and organizations will be able to file the new form by:
- Using the new SAR software to complete the SAR form, save it on a diskette and mailing it to the Detroit Computing Center, as set forth in the SAR instructions.
- Using the new SAR software to complete the SAR form and then printing a paper version of the completed SAR form and mailing it to the Detroit Computing Center, as set forth in the SAR instructions.
- Producing a magnetic tape of SAR forms (using revised specifications obtained from the Detroit Computing Center) and mailing it to the Detroit Computing Center.
- Completing (if none of the above options is available) the paper version of the SAR and mailing it to the Detroit Computing Center, as set forth in the SAR instructions.
For any questions regarding the newly issued SAR form, financial institutions and organizations should contact their primary federal regulator or FinCEN.