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WASHINGTON-The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that it has officially launched the Patriot Act Communication System (PACS). PACS is designed to allow participating financial institutions to quickly and securely file Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) reports over the Internet. “The deployment of PACS is a win-win for financial institutions and government,” FinCEN Director James Sloan commented. “Financial institutions will realize cost savings through elimination of magnetic tape handling, routing paper forms for approval and shipping costs. PACS will also save the government considerable taxpayer dollars in processing costs associated with paper and magnetic filing and will allow for BSA information to be processed and made available to law enforcement investigators on an expedited basis.” Credit unions and other financial institutions are not mandated to use PACS, however the system provides another option for filing. Financial institutions must name specially designated personnel to participate in e-filing and receive a digital certificate from a government-approved certificate authority. Additional information is available at FinCEN’s Web site, www.treas.gov/fincen. PACs will also aid FinCEN in issuing advisories and PACS updates to its users. FinCEN engaged in a pilot program involving 26 financial institutions, ranging from large national banks to small credit unions, to test the system for two months this summer. The agency has spent the last two months responding to recommendations by pilot participants and allowing them time to make last minute business process changes required for full participation in PACS. More than 13 million BSA reports are filed with FinCEN every year through the IRS Detroit Computing Center, which processes the reports for FinCEN. Under the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, FinCEN was directed to create a “highly secure network” for electronic filing of Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), and other BSA-required forms.

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