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Suspicious Activity Reporting 

Suspicious activity reporting (SAR) enables law enforcement to initiate or supplement money laundering or terrorist financing investigations as well as other criminal cases. SARs also provide FinCEN and other federal agencies in identifying trends and patterns associated with financial crimes. 

The Federal Financial Institution Examinations Council (FFIEC) website states that the most important factors for effective SAR monitoring and reporting include five key components:

• Identification or alert of unusual activity (which may include employee identification, law enforcement inquiries, other referrals, and transaction and surveillance monitoring system output).

• Managing alerts.

• SAR decision making.

• SAR completion and filing.

• Monitoring and SAR filing on continuing activity.

An effective SARs must be complete, sufficient, and filed timely.  The most critical part of the SAR is the narrative. The narrative should identify the five essential elements of information (who? what? when? where? and why?) for the suspicious activity being reported. The method of operation (or how?) is also important and should be included in the narrative. Remember, you need to grab the reader’s attention with the first paragraph!

We are proud to say that we have an entire BSA Department dedicated to assist our MSB customers with questions regarding SAR filing.

Over the last decade we have worked hard to provide the absolute best and highest quality support for our MSB customers, and it has proven to support them with a high level of compliance in their businesses. 

As we continue to build our banking services around our MSB customers, we look at the most important factors for sustainability and compliance and make those our goal for growth. 

If you have any questions about SAR best practices or would like to speak with a BSA representative, contact us at 

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