The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act (BSA), also known as the Bank Secrecy Act, was passed in 1970. It requires U.S. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering.
The BSA requires all U.S. financial institutions to file reports with the government on certain kinds of transactions or activities that may signal possible criminal activity or terrorism. Banks, credit unions, broker-dealers, casinos, money service businesses (such as check cashers and money transmitters), and other businesses must file these reports with FinCEN( Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), which is part of the U.S. Treasury Department.
The information provided on these reports helps the federal government identify potential fraud and terrorism, so they must be completed accurately and on time. The most common types of reports include:
The Currency Transaction Report (CTR) must be filed whenever a customer makes a cash transaction greater than $10,000 at one time (known as a “single transaction”).
The Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) must be filed when transactions are observed by bank employees that may involve illegal activity like fraud, money laundering, or terrorist financing.