The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, also known as the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), and its implementing regulation, 31 CFR 103, is a tool the US government uses to fight drug trafficking, money laundering, and other crimes. Congress enacted the BSA to prevent banks and other financial service providers from being used as intermediaries for, or to hide the transfer or deposit of money derived from, criminal activity. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) monitors national bank compliance with the BSA and 31 CFR 103. Since its passage, Congress has amended the BSA a number of times to enhance law enforcement effectiveness. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which included the Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (MCLA), strengthened the government's ability to fight money laundering by making it a criminal activity. Before 2005, each regulator used separately developed, but similar, examination procedures to assess compliance with the BSA.
However, in 2005, in an effort to establish more consistency in examination procedures and application, the regulators, with participation from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), issued a new manual dedicated to organizing the procedures. The new procedures retain the risk-focused approach of the prior procedures, requiring examiners to apply a higher level of scrutiny to the institution's lines of business that carry a higher risk for potential money laundering or non-compliance with the BSA.