When the Bank Secrecy Act was signed into law in 1970, its purpose was to "require certain reports or records where they have a high degree of usefulness in criminal, tax, or regulatory investigations or proceedings."

But the regulations the act brought about go far beyond the goals set in 1970. Changes to the law over the years have been a patchwork of regulations that have added responsibilities to financial institutions without any thought to the law's original purpose.

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