The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a U.S. agency that fights financial crimes has encouraged financial institutions to share customer information with each other to prevent financial crimes. These financial institutions could range from cryptocurrency exchanges to traditional banks. FinCEN further released a fact sheet regarding guidance on sharing personal information of customers among banks. The fact sheet was updated based on the interpretation of Section 314(b) of the PATRIOT Act.
FinCEN Encourages Information Sharing Among Financial Institutions
The director of the U.S. Treasury Department, Kenneth Blanco told the American Bankers Association and the American Bar Association at a virtual conference that interbank sharing comes as a part of public safety measures.
“Information sharing among financial institutions through 314(b) is critical to identifying, reporting, and preventing crime and bad acts. It is an important part of how we protect our national security.”
The released guidance highlighted what can be qualified as suspicious activity. The fact sheet also pointed out whether sharing customer information even needs to be from that of financial institutions.
The guidance has encouraged financial institutions to share information related to any suspicious activity related to money laundering or terrorist financing. Blanco wanted to emphasize how information sharing is crucial to prevent financial crimes.
Blanco further added:
“Frankly, many have been calling for clarity in this area for a long time, I have been one of those most vocal about this needed change.”
Released Guidance Highlights what Kind of Personal Information can be Shared
The released guidance also highlighted what kind of personal information can be shared under the PATRIOT Act’s safe harbor provision.
The intention behind this is to enable financial institutions to protect themselves if any customers file lawsuits regarding their personal information being shared as part of the investigation.
Blanco further said:
“When it comes to protecting our communities and preventing crimes and bad acts, we are all partners in the fight. FinCEN is committed to seeking ways to make that fight more effective and efficient for us all. I hope you view today’s announcement as making good on that commitment.”