Understanding Bank Surveillance: Navigating Large Cash Transactions in Compliance with Financial Regulations

Featured & Cover Understanding Bank Surveillance Navigating Large Cash Transactions in Compliance with Financial Regulations

“Many Americans experience a sense of surveillance when handling significant sums of money in their bank transactions,” expressed a TikTok duo, Alexis and Dean, who operate a financial advice startup. The couple’s video titled ‘What occurs upon depositing over $10,000 in your bank account?’ has resonated with over 3.6 million viewers and elicited more than 2,300 comments since its upload on February 12.

The clip features Alexis questioning Dean about the purported prohibition against depositing $10,000 into a bank account at once. Dean refutes this claim, asserting that such transactions are permissible, provided they are conducted within legal parameters. He proceeds to elucidate on how banks handle large cash deposits and outlines their anti-money laundering protocols.

Under federal regulations, all banks must report significant financial transactions to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Although there exists no blanket prohibition on handling substantial amounts of currency, banks are mandated to report transactions exceeding $10,000 in a single day via a Currency Transaction Report (CTR). Dean clarifies that exceeding this threshold doesn’t equate to criminal activity but merely triggers reporting for transactions surpassing $10,000.

These CTRs are essential components of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and serve to safeguard the financial sector from money laundering and other illicit financial activities. To comply with CTR regulations, financial institutions must gather specific customer information, including Social Security numbers and government-issued identification.

In response to queries about circumventing the $10,000 CTR threshold by depositing slightly less or splitting deposits, Dean warns against such actions, termed “structuring,” which could prompt banks to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs). Structuring may involve tactics like selling a vehicle for $15,000 and depositing the proceeds in two $7,500 increments on the same day to different bank personnel. Violating structuring laws may result in civil and criminal penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines.

Dean emphasizes that CTRs and SARs primarily serve anti-money laundering objectives and reassures viewers that engaging in lawful activities poses no risk. He advises individuals with significant cash deposits to proceed with their transactions without apprehension but suggests seeking guidance from financial advisors for optimal money management and growth.

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