InfoBytes, December 10, 2010 - Weekly In-depth review of news & developments in the financial services industry

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Topics In This Issue

• Federal Issues

• State Issues

• Courts

• Firm News

• Mortgages

• Banking

• Consumer Finance

• Litigation

• Credit Cards

Excerpt from "Federal Issues"

OCC Rule Strengthens Confidentiality of Suspicious Activity Reports. Effective on January 3, 2011, the OCC will amend its regulations governing the release of non-public OCC information under 12 CFR part 4, subpart C. Under the new rule, the OCC will release a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR), or any information that would reveal the existence of a SAR (SAR information) only when necessary to fulfill official duties consistent with Title II of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The standards also state that "official duties" do not include the disclosure of SAR information in response to a request for use in a private legal proceeding or in response to a request for disclosure of non-public OCC information under § 4.33. Consequently, the OCC will not release SAR information in response to a request from a private litigant arising out of a private legal proceeding. Furthermore, the OCC will deny a request for non-public information made under 12 CFR § 4.33 if the release is prohibited by law. For more on this Rule, please click here. To reflect changes made by the USA PATRIOT Act, the amendments also modify the scope of the rule’s safe harbor provision to include the voluntary disclosure of possible violations of law and regulations to a government agency and expands the limit on civil liability to include "any liability that may exist under a contract or other legally enforceable agreement (including any arbitration agreement)." Contemporaneous with the publication of the OCC rule, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCen) issued rules, two guidance documents, and an advisory letter regarding the sharing of SARs which may be used to interpret the new OCC provisions. The OCC and FinCen rules and guidance become effective January 3, 2011.

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