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July 2, 1997

Payment to be Made by Barnett Banks, Inc. to Settle Charges of Bank Secrecy Act Violations

The Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that Barnett Banks, Inc. (Barnett) has agreed to pay $100,000 to resolve charges that it failed to file reports required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). Barnett is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida with approximately 600 branches, located throughout Florida and Georgia.

The charges concerned Barnett’s placement of two customers on its large currency transaction reporting exemption list in 1987 (which was discovered during a routine examination of Barnett in 1989 by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency), and its failure to aggregate a commercial customer’s same-day cash withdrawals between 1993 and 1995 (which was discovered during an Internal Revenue Service examination in 1995). The errors were corrected after their discovery. The settlement was influenced by Barnett’s otherwise strong record of BSA compliance, and by its long-standing record of cooperation and assistance to federal and state law enforcement authorities.

The BSA requires banks and other financial institutions to keep records and file reports on currency transactions in excess of $10,000 and to institute preventive programs to safeguard against abuse of its financial services by customers. These BSA reporting and recordkeeping requirements are extremely useful to the government’s efforts in criminal, tax and regulatory investigations and proceedings. The authority of the Secretary of the Treasury to administer the BSA is delegated to the Director of FinCEN.

FinCEN Director, Stanley E. Morris, commended the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for their assistance and commitment to ensuring BSA compliance at Barnett.

Federal financial regulators, including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Internal Revenue Service’s Examination Division, routinely examine financial institutions under their jurisdiction to ensure compliance with the recordkeeping and reporting requirements of the BSA. When significant BSA deficiencies are discovered by a federal financial regulator, the matter is referred to FinCEN. Once advised that criminal investigation is not warranted, FinCEN begins its own civil investigation, seeks additional information from the regulator and/or institution, determines the appropriate sanction, if any, and works with the institution to reach agreement on the sanction and measures to ensure future BSA compliance.

"BSA compliance throughout the financial services community is of enormous importance to law enforcement in its fight against financial crime," said Morris. "Information collected under the BSA is a valuable investigative tool and vigorous enforcement underscores the significance Treasury places on BSA compliance."