The Treasury Department has just finished a yearlong revamping of the report banks must file on transactions exceeding $10,000.
To allow time for training employees, banks have until Oct. 1 to begin using the new form.
The new currency transaction report is 30% smaller, said Stanley E. Morris, director of the department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network. The number of blanks institutions must fill in is being cut to 64 from 98.
"This revision is mutually beneficial to law enforcement and the financial community because it focuses on the quality of information rather than the quantity," Mr. Morris said.
The report is used by law enforcement officials to catch money launderers and other financial criminals.
Many of the alterations will come as no surprise to the banking industry, as the enforcement network has been soliciting comments on the form at conferences and meetings over the past year.
The major change is the elimination of a box bankers check to indicate suspicious transactions. Banks will instead use the criminal referral form to inform the government of suspicious actions. That form is being revised as well, and is slated for completion by October, according to Pamela Johnson, an assistant director at the Treasury Department agency.
In addition, banks will no longer have to identify the number of $100 bills involved in transactions covered by the report.
Finally, the new form requires the signature of just one bank employee. Needing two signatures on the old form led to filing delays.
Bankers and bank trade groups are generally in favor of the changes, but some question whether they will make much difference.
Jonathan Fiechter, acting director of the Office of Thrift Supervision, said the thrift managers he's talked to say the revamped form is still burdensome.
"Is it a perfect form? No," said John Byrne, senior counsel at the American Bankers Association. "But frankly, I'd be hard-pressed to figure out what else can be done."
Ms. Johnson said it was impossible for her agency to please everybody.
"For every person that wanted a box on, another person wanted a box off.