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May 11, 2011
CONTACT: Bill Grassano

FinCEN Releases Latest SAR Activity Reviews:
By the Numbers, and Trends, Tips & Issues

VIENNA, Va. - The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network today released two new reports based on information contained in suspicious activity reports (SARs): the 16th edition of the SAR Activity Review - By the Numbers and the 19th edition of the SAR Activity Review: Trends, Tips & Issues. FinCEN released both reports at the semi-annual meeting of the Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG).

By the Numbers contains extensive data on SARs including 2010 yearend numbers and serves as a companion piece to Trends, Tips & Issues, which provides information about the preparation, use, and utility of SARs. This 19th edition of Trends, Tips & Issues focuses primarily on foreign corruption, including identifying and reporting on suspicious activities involving senior foreign political figures. The Trends & Analysis section leads with an overview of corruption-related SAR filings covering 2009 and 2010, followed by articles that take a more focused look at two aspects of these filings.

The 19th edition highlights a law enforcement case involving foreign corruption, as well as several domestic corruption cases, all of which illustrate how financial institutions have assisted in identifying instances of corruption through their BSA reporting. Trends, Tips & Issues also contains summaries of law enforcement cases that demonstrate how important and valuable BSA data is to the law enforcement community.

Available in By the Numbers, which includes SAR data through December 31, 2010, are various visual representations of data pertinent to States & Territories (as available) encompassing charts, graphs, and maps showing hot spots of filing activity. The data may be accessed through highlighted hyperlinks within the report.

A review of the numerical data generated for the 16th edition of By the Numbers reveals that the total volume of all SARs within the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) database increased 3.5 percent in 2010 as compared with the previous 12 months in 2009. In 2010, the number of depository institution SARs decreased 3 percent in contrast to the prior year, while non-depository institution SARs increased 12 percent for the corresponding 12 months. Non-depository institutions filed approximately 47 percent of SARs during the 2010 calendar year, representing an increase of 3 percent over the same period in the prior year.

The BSAAG consists of representatives from Federal regulatory and law enforcement agencies, financial institutions, and trade groups and meets twice a year. The BSAAG serves to actively solicit advice on the administration of the BSA. Since 1994, the BSAAG has served as a forum for industry, regulators, and law enforcement to communicate about how SARs, Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), and other FinCEN data are used by law enforcement and how the record keeping and reporting requirements can be improved to enhance their utility while minimizing costs to financial institutions.


F inCEN's mission is to enhance U.S. national security, deter and detect criminal activity, and safeguard financial systems from abuse by promoting transparency in the U.S. and international financial systems.