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WASHINGTON-The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network recently announced that it would be reinstating information requests related to section 314(a) of the PATRIOT Act this week. The provision, which authorizes law enforcement authorities to gather information about suspected money launderers and terrorists from financial institutions, will take effect the week of February 17, 2003. A moratorium was placed on this type of information request to fix logistical issues and develop guidance on the information request process. “Really what this is going to mean is that institutions will have a clearer understanding of what is expected of them,” CUNA Associate General Counsel Mary Dunn said. “They’ll have more time to get back to Treasury and the process, we believe, is going to be improved for everyone.” She explained that once a financial institution receives a notice from FinCEN requesting certain information, the record search they will have to perform will not be as broad as in the original rule required and financial institutions will have longer to get back to the agency-two weeks as opposed to one. Additionally, requests from FinCEN will be batched and issued every two weeks, unless otherwise indicated and, if a financial institution finds a match, it only need respond to FinCEN that there is a match and provide point-of-contact information. “The Treasury, we feel, is trying to do its part to make these regulations the least onerous possible,” Dunn commented. CUNA is holding an education session during its Government Affairs Conference at the end of this month covering the PATRIOT Act requirements.

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