SR 21-5:

Release of Updated Sections of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual

BOARD OF GOVERNORS
OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20551

DIVISION OF
SUPERVISION AND REGULATION

SR 21-5
February 26, 2021

TO THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF SUPERVISION AND APPROPRIATE SUPERVISORY AND EXAMINATION STAFF AT EACH FEDERAL RESERVE BANK AND BANKING ORGANIZATIONS SUPERVISED BY THE FEDERAL RESERVE

SUBJECT:

Release of Updated Sections of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Examination Manual

Applicability:  This letter is relevant to banking organizations supervised by the Federal Reserve that are subject to the Bank Secrecy Act.

Members of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)1 released several updated sections and related examination procedures to the Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Examination Manual (Manual). The Manual provides instructions to examiners when assessing the adequacy of a bank’s BSA/AML compliance program, relative to its risk profile, and the bank’s compliance with BSA regulatory requirements. These new and revised sections provide further transparency into the BSA/AML examination process and do not establish new requirements.  The FFIEC revised the sections in close collaboration with Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The new and revised sections included in today’s release are:

  • Assessing Compliance with Bank Secrecy Act Regulatory Requirements (New)
  • Customer Identification Program
  • Currency Transaction Reporting
  • Transactions of Exempt Persons

The revisions to the Manual continue to emphasize and enhance the agencies’ risk-focused approach to BSA/AML supervision. Specifically, the agencies added an introduction intended to further help examiners in assessing compliance with BSA regulatory requirements and highlighting that the scope of an examination will vary by each bank’s unique risk profile.  In addition, the revisions to the Manual continue to clearly distinguish between regulatory requirements and considerations set forth in guidance or supervisory expectations. Further, the revisions incorporate regulatory and other changes since the last update of the Manual in 2014.

New and revised sections of the Manual are attached and will be identified by a 2021 date on the FFIEC BSA/AML InfoBase2 shortly. The agencies continue to review and revise the remaining sections of the 2014 edition of the Manual and updates will continue to be released on a rolling basis. Previous updates include those from April 2020 and all Manual updates will soon be catalogued on the FFIEC BSA/AML InfoBase under a “What’s New” page.

Reserve Banks are asked to distribute this letter to the supervised banking organizations in their districts and to appropriate supervisory staff.  Questions regarding this letter may be sent via the Board’s public website.3

signed by
Michael S. Gibson
Director
Division of
Supervision and Regulation

Supersedes:
  • SR 20-11, “Release of Updated Section of the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering Manual”
Notes:
  1. Five of the six FFIEC member agencies develop and release the BSA/AML Examination Manual: the Federal Reserve Board, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Credit Union Administration, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and State Liaison Committee (agencies). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is also a voting member of the FFIEC.  Return to text.
  2. See, https://bsaaml.ffiec.gov/.  Return to text.
  3. See, http://www.federalreserve.gov/apps/contactus/feedback.aspx.  Return to text.
Back to Top
Last Update: February 26, 2021