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"My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government."
- President Obama, January 21, 2009
In January 2009, President Obama issued a memorandum directing the Attorney General to issue new guidelines governing the Freedom of Information Act. He also issued a separate memorandum, promoting transparency, public participation, and collaboration in government, and calling for the creation of an Open Government Directive, which the Office of Management and Budget announced in December 2009. The directive requires each Federal agency to take immediate, specific steps to promote transparency, participation, and collaboration. This includes the creation of each agency's Open Government Web page to serve as the gateway for agency activities related to open government. As a result, the Department of the Treasury must publish all of its reports and data (including information from its bureaus) in one place (www.treasury.gov/open). A link to FinCEN's reports is located in the lower right corner of the page, under "Records and Reports."
Nothing in these policies or memoranda is inconsistent with, or lessens in any way, FinCEN's obligations to protect classified and other sensitive information, including, for example, FinCEN data and personally identifiable information.
Treasury's initial Open Government Plan, published in 2010, included the flagship initiative of "Moving to a Paperless Treasury." It was designed to improve the public's experience interacting with Treasury while effecting operational efficiencies of several key Treasury activities. The desired outcome of paperless disbursement and collection activities are cost savings/avoidance for the government and improved flexibility and response to customers. FinCEN supports this initiative in a number of ways.
All FinCEN forms, with some extensions and exemptions allowed are required to be electronically filed (E-Filed) as of July 1, 2012. FinCEN is no longer accepting most paper filings, and has allowed extensions and exemptions only in certain circumstances. FinCEN's electronic filing system allows for greater data security and privacy compared with paper forms; makes it quicker and easier for law enforcement investigators to follow criminal money; reduces government and industry costs; and diminishes the environmental waste of paper forms.
E-Filing also ensures compatibility with future versions of FinCEN forms. As part of FinCEN's overall modernization of its IT systems, it announced in March 2012 that it has developed new universal electronic suspicious activity and currency transaction reports to replace the current industry specific paper forms, and issued guidance to assist institutions filing the new versions.
In addition, FinCEN has launched a Web page that provides a listing of entities registered with FinCEN as money services businesses (MSBs). FinCEN's MSB Registrant Search Web page allows MSBs, banks, regulators, law enforcement, and the general public to more efficiently access, search, verify, download, and print MSB registration information. With its launch, FinCEN has discontinued the mailing of paper letters to MSBs to confirm their registration. Registration can be confirmed via the new MSB Web page. Benefits include greater accessibility of MSB registration information to financial institutions as well as to the public, and a reduction of paper flow and associated costs.
There are several ways to contact FinCEN. FinCEN provides contact information to help direct inquiries to the appropriate offices and/or personnel.