The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and federal banking regulators need to improve coordination of the Bank Secrecy Act, according to a report issued Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office.

"With respect to BSA, multiple regulators are examining for compliance with the same legislation across industries and, for some larger holding companies, within the same institution," the GAO reported. "However, they do not have a mechanism through which all regulators discuss (without industry present) how to promote greater consistency, reduce unnecessary regulatory burden, and identify concerns across industries."

The report also found that regulators conducted fewer anti-money laundering examinations in 2008 than in the previous three years and the number of AML violations cited has also declined.

Regulators conducted 9,442 examinations in fiscal year 2008, compared to 9,601 in 2007, 10,137 in 2006, and 10,172 in 2005. Bank regulators took less enforcement actions: 3,416 informal enforcement actions and 37 formal actions in 2008, compared to 5,067 informal actions and 65 formal in 2007, 6,464 informal enforcement actions and 49 informal in 2006, 2,063 informal and 74 formal in 2005.

The GAO recommended that Fincen and bank regulators develop a mechanism to regularly discuss BSA examinations and procedures across all regulators.

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