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Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

Who is Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) ?

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is a bureau within the U.S. Department of Treasury that is responsible for overseeing, implementing, and enforcing laws, regulations, and policies designed to combat money laundering and financial crime.

FinCEN requires financial institutions and certain individuals to provide certain financial transactions data through various reports. It analyzes and disseminates this information for law enforcement purposes. This data collection and analysis helps identify trends in money laundering and other financial crimes by linking information from multiple sources. FinCEN also cooperates with various international organizations to share information and support initiatives directed at combating money laundering and other financial crimes.

FinCEN was established in April 1990 by Treasury Order Number 105-08.


FinCEN's Mission

FinCEN's states its mission on its website as:

The mission of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is to safeguard the financial system from illicit use and combat money laundering and promote national security through the collection, analysis, and dissemination of financial intelligence and strategic use of financial authorities.

FinCEN's Contact Information

P.O. Box 39,
Vienna, Virginia, 22183
Phone: 1-800-767-2825

FinCEN's Role in Mortgages

Regulatory Agency

FinCEN Regulations for BSA/AML

FinCEN has the authority to promulgate and interpret the regulations implementing Bank Secrecy Act. The regulations are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations under the treasury regulations from 31 CFR 1000 to 31 CFR 1099. The key sections of the regulation that are applicable to mortgage lending are:

  1. 31 CFR 1010: These regulations contain the general provisions applicable to all financial institutions.
  2. 31 CFR 1020: These regulations contain rules for Banks.
  3. 31 CFR 1029: These regulations contain rules for loan or finance companies. Independent mortgage firms that are not banks, would be covered under these provisions.

Regulatory Change for Residential Mortgage Brokers and Mortgage Companies

FinCEN issued new regulations in 2012 to require the residential mortgage brokers and mortgage companies to be covered under the BSA requirements. The 2012 rules are effective from April 16, 2012 having the compliance date of August 13, 2012. The rules were based on FinCEN's interpretation that the Bank Secrecy Act's (BSA) definition of Financial Institution includes loan or finance companies . Accordingly, the definition is now covers residential mortgage brokers and mortgage companies . As part of this new regulation FinCEN amended the 31 CFR 1029.

The new rule only applies to residential mortgage brokers and mortgage companies. It does not include federally regulated depository institutions, such as banks and credit unions, since the depository institutions are already covered under existing BSA related regulations promulgated by FinCEN (31 CFR 1010 and 31 CFR 1020).


BSA Reporting

FinCEN requires individuals and financial institutions to provide certain financial and transactional data through reports such as Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR), Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR), and Currency Transaction Reports (CTR). The filings are made using FinCEN's BSA E-Filing System.

Enforcement Agency

Independent mortgage brokers and mortgage lending companies are required to develop and implement an AML program, file filing Suspicious Activities Report (SAR) when they identify money laundering risks or fraud , and file currency transaction reports (CTRs) when applicable. FinCEN has the authority to bring in enforcement action for violations in the recordkeeping, reporting, and other requirements of the BSA laws and regulations. The enforcement actions may result in civil money penalties and other remedial actions. FinCEN publishes the list of enforcement actions and are available on its website at its Enforcement Actions webpage.


Updated: May 08, 2017


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