On July 10, FinCEN announced the first in a series of public hearings to collect information related to its proposed rule on customer due diligence requirements for financial institutions. The public hearing, to be held July 31, 2012 at the Treasury Department, is designed to obtain input from the law enforcement and regulatory communities, as well as industry representatives.
On July 11, FinCEN released its first targeted study analyzing Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) involving the real estate and title escrow industry. As part of its efforts to better understand criminal risks impacting related those industries, FinCEN studied thousands of SARs involving title and escrow companies, often filed in connection with mortgage fraud. The FinCEN release notes that the agency does not currently require title and escrow companies themselves to file SARs, but many such companies have reported suspicious activities to FinCEN. The agency plans to use this and future studies to identify regulatory gaps and assess appropriate solutions to close those gaps and mitigate risk.