FinCEN's IT Modernization Efforts FAQs

What is the BSA IT Modernization Program?

FinCEN's Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) Information Technology (IT) Modernization Program is an effort to provide a modernized IT foundation to collect, store, safeguard, analyze, and share data collected pursuant to FinCEN's regulatory authority under the BSA, together with other relevant information. Modernization is a critical component of government efforts to ensure the transparency of U.S. financial systems, detect and deter crime, strengthen national security, and achieve economic stability and growth. Click here to view a Fact Sheet on the Program.

Who will benefit from FinCEN's IT Modernization Program?

The benefits of this investment will be leveraged across the hundreds of Federal, State, and local agencies that rely on FinCEN and the data it provides.

What are the objectives of FinCEN's IT Modernization Program?

FinCEN's IT Modernization Program will provide a modernized information technology foundation to collect, analyze, and share data collected under FinCEN's regulatory authority. This Program is a critical component to assuring the soundness fundamental to encouraging economic growth, restoring confidence in the financial system, and strengthening national security. The Program aims to develop a reliable and secure information management and analysis framework that will provide better tools for filers and users, enhance data integrity, and provide improved analytical capability. FinCEN's IT modernization efforts will improve data quality, as well as FinCEN's ability to securely share data with its law enforcement and regulatory partners. FinCEN has developed an organizational change management strategy to focus on several key areas. These include assessing, monitoring, and mitigating challenges; engaging and communicating with stakeholders; aligning and mobilizing leadership and staff; preparing and equipping the workforce for the changes ahead; and monitoring potential organizational impacts.

What is E-Filing?

The Bank Secrecy Act Electronic Filing System (BSA E-Filing) supports the electronic filing of FinCEN reports through a secure network. It also allows users to send and receive secure messages to and from FinCEN. Additionally, FinCEN uses the system to issue advisories and system updates to the user community. As part of its modernization efforts, FinCEN has mandated the electronic filing of FinCEN reports via its E-Filing system, and has released new versions of its suspicious activity and currency transaction reports.

What is the FinCEN Portal?

The FinCEN Portal is the gateway for authorized Federal, state, and local law enforcement and regulatory users to access Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and FinCEN financial data. Click here to view a Fact Sheet on the FinCEN Portal.

What is FinCEN Query?

FinCEN Query is the new search application for authorized users to access FinCEN data. FinCEN Query replaces, and is fundamentally different from, the Web Based Currency and Banking Retrieval System (WebCBRS). FinCEN Query searches and returns data differently because it was designed using a search engine, similar to Google. It allows users to search broadly across more fields and returns more results than WebCBRS, therefore queries should include specific information (e.g., a Social Security Number) to narrow query results and reduce the number of unrelated reports. Click here to view a Fact Sheet on FinCEN Query. Click here to view the progression over the past 10 years of the electronic systems through which authorized users have accessed FinCEN data.

How is the IT Modernization Program governed?

The Treasury Executive Investment Review Board (E-Board) has endorsed BSA IT Modernization as a Department Priority impacting multiple Treasury stakeholders, and the Office of Management and Budget has approved FinCEN's technical approach. The E-Board has established the BSA IT Modernization Executive Group (MEG) and the BSA IT Modernization Executive Steering Committee (ESC) to provide governance/oversight of the program. The program's governance model provides structure and facilitates management of cost/schedule baseline changes, risks and issues, program operations, and technical and organizational decisions.

Who's working with FinCEN on its IT Modernization Program?

There are several customer groups that are working with FinCEN's Technology Solutions and Services Division (TSDD) in the development of the program. The Integrated Project Team (IPT) is comprised of FinCEN division business representatives who help define enterprise capabilities and system requirements and design and participate in government acceptance testing. The Data Management Council (DMC) is comprised of Federal law enforcement and regulatory representatives who review the IT modernization program. The Bank Secrecy Act Advisory Group (BSAAG) and select subcommittees assist FinCEN in obtaining additional feedback on specific modernization efforts. (Congress established the BSAAG in 1992 to enable the financial services industry and law enforcement to advise the Secretary of the Treasury on ways to enhance the utility of reports filed under BSA requirements, as well as to provide a forum for feedback to industry on the use of those reports.) In addition, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) subject matter experts garner feedback on programmatic, business, and technical aspects of the program.

Where can the public find updated information on FinCEN's IT modernization program?

Information on FinCEN's IT modernization program is periodically updated on the Federal Government's IT Dashboard at The IT Dashboard is a Web site that posts the details of Federal IT investments. Its purpose is to provide information on the effectiveness of government IT programs and to support decisions regarding the investment and management of resources.

What are people saying about FinCEN's IT modernization program?

"The Committee is pleased with the progress that FinCEN is making on BSA modernization, notably the successful migration of historical data from the legacy system." 

     -- U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations Report #112-550 (June 26, 2012) 

"The Committee recommendation supports FinCEN's continued efforts to modernize the technical environment for implementation of the Bank Secrecy Act [BSA]. The modernization, near completion, will re-engineer the BSA data architecture, update antiquated infrastructure required to support data capture and dissemination, implement innovative Web services and enhanced electronic filing, and provide enhanced analytical tools. This system is used by banks, Federal law enforcement, State and local law enforcement, and other Federal intelligence agencies to report, gather, and analyze data to identify money laundering, terrorist financing, tax evasion, and vulnerabilities in the financial industry. The previous infrastructure is outdated and limits the capabilities of these users, which ultimately limits the capability of the Treasury and its partners to pursue money laundering, terrorist financing, and tax evasion. 

The Committee is pleased with the results of the Treasury Office of Inspector General's audit of the modernization project (OIG-12-047). The Inspector General reported that through May 2011, FinCEN had generally met all scheduled milestones on time and that the project costs are within an acceptable 10-percent budget threshold. The Committee appreciates that FinCEN has engaged stakeholder groups during the development process, including regulators, law enforcement, and industry users of BSA data. The Committee directs FinCEN to prioritize the mapping of BSA data for IRS's purposes so that data integrity is not disrupted. FinCEN is directed to continue to submit a semiannual report to the Committee on Appropriations summarizing the agency's progress regarding the modernization effort, including milestones planned and achieved, progress on cost and schedule, management of contractor oversight, strategies to involve stakeholders, and acquisition management efforts. 

The Committee also directs FinCEN to focus efforts on improving the completeness and reliability of BSA data in accordance with recommendations by the Treasury Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office. The Committee notes that while a new BSA infrastructure will improve the capabilities of processing and analyzing BSA data, the accuracy, reliability, and timeliness of the data itself will ultimately determine the effectiveness of the system and related processes." 

     -- U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations Report #112-177 (June 14, 2012) 

"The budget requests an additional $21.7 million for FinCEN to complete a major IT investment that will enhance law enforcement's ability to track criminal financial activity. The project is on-time and on-budget and will be complete by the end of FY2013." 

     -- Press Release from the Office of Sen. Dick Durbin (March 28, 2012)


Treasury Department Inspector General's Audit Reports on FinCEN's IT Modernization Program