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Does a bank need to disclose SARs filed against customers as part of a civil subpoena?

My bank received a civil subpoena for records pertaining to one of our customers. The subpoena asked if the bank had filed “any” reports with government agencies pursuant to this customer’s activities. The subpoena did not ask specifically if the bank filed a suspicious activity report (SAR), so it seems that citing the SAR non-disclosure provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act hints that the bank did indeed file. How should the bank respond?

Citing the specific non-disclosure provisions of the law implies there is a SAR. It is not settled law but the consensus seems to be that such a citation is best avoided. The response should be that your bank is complying, to the best of its ability. The bank needs to consult an attorney familiar with these types of subpoenas as each court has its own protocols. (March 2019)

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