FinCEN Seeks Comment on ‘No-Action Letter’ Proposal

By David Baumann - June 08, 2022

Announcement comes following consultation with NCUA, state credit union supervisors, other financial regulators.


The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is soliciting comment on whether it should develop a process for issuing no-action letters when they are requested by financial institutions.

“A no-action letter is generally understood to be a form of enforcement discretion where an agency states by letter that it will not take an enforcement action against the submitting party for the specific conduct presented to the agency,” FinCEN explained, in announcing the decision.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and other financial regulators are members of the network.

“A no-action letter process has the potential to spur innovation and enhance overall effectiveness of the [anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism] framework and the implementation of financial institutions’ compliance programs,” FinCEN’s Acting Director Himamauli Das said.

The comment period will last 60 days following the Monday publication of the proposal.

Background and Scope of the Initiative

The decision to consider the new process follows a congressionally mandated study. FinCEN officials said, in preparing that report, they consulted with financial regulators, including the NCUA and state credit union supervisors.

That assessment concluded FinCEN should solicit comment on a no-action letter process.

“The Report noted several potential benefits of a no-action letter process, including encouraging a robust and productive dialogue with the public, promoting a culture of compliance, and enhancing transparency in the application and enforcement of the Bank Secrecy Act,” the network stated.

In its announcement, FinCEN asked for comments on a variety of issues, including:

–The impact a no-action letter would have on the prudential regulators of financial institutions. (Generally, the network has delegated the responsibility for examining anti-money laundering rule compliance to agencies such as the NCUA.)

–The value that a no-action letter would have if other regulators with jurisdiction over a financial institution do not issue a similar letter.

–Whether the no-action letter process should be confidential or the letters should be used as published precedent.

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