Did you know there is a “Bank Secrecy Act”?

I’ve been a Realtor for nearly nine years, and I had never seen reference to the Bank Secrecy Act. I’m curious – who is supposed to check?

This is a fascinating clause from a recent bank’s foreclosure addendum. Bolding mine.

Pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act and requirements specified by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), [Bank Name, edited out by me] will not engage in any transaction with any individual or entity that either appears on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons, Specially Designated Terrorists, Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers, or that [Bank Name, edited again] suspects to involved in a suspicious transaction or one in violation of federal law. Therefore, the information on the form attached as Exhibit A, must be provided. This information will be used for the sole purpose of screening against OFAC and WorldCheck lists. If the Seller finds in it sole and absolute discretion that any Buyer(s) meet the criteria as described above, the offer, purchase agreement or other documents executed in connection with the purchase of the property shall be of no effect, and shall be immediately cancelled and terminated. No party shall be liable to the other party in any way, for any claims whatsoever. Any earnest money deposit will be returned to the Buyer.

Who knew?

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (or BSA, or otherwise known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act) requires U.S.A. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering. Specifically, the act requires financial institutions to keep records of cash purchases of negotiable instruments, file reports of cash transactions exceeding $10,000 (daily aggregate amount), and to report suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities. It was passed by the Congress of the United States in 1970. The BSA is sometimes referred to as an “anti-money laundering” law (“AML”) or jointly as “BSA/AML”. Several anti-money laundering acts, including provisions in title III of the USA PATRIOT Act, have been enacted up to the present to amend the BSA. (See 31 USC 5311-5330 and 31 CFR 103.)

And from Wikipedia:

The Bank Secrecy Act of 1970 (or BSA, or otherwise known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act) requires financial institutions in the United States to assist U.S. government agencies to detect and prevent money laundering. Specifically, the act requires financial institutions to keep records of cash purchases of negotiable instruments, and file reports of cash purchases of these negotiable instruments of $10,000 or more (daily aggregate amount), and to report suspicious activity that might signify money laundering, tax evasion, or other criminal activities. Many banks will no longer sell negotiable instruments when purchased with cash, requiring the purchase to be withdrawn from an account at that institution. BSA was passed by the Congress of the United States in 1970. The BSA is sometimes referred to as an “anti-money laundering” law (“AML”) or jointly as “BSA/AML”. Several anti-money laundering acts, including provisions in title III of the USA PATRIOT Act, have been enacted up to the present to amend the BSA. (See 31 USC 5311-5330 and 31 CFR 103.)

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