Considering the function of financial institutions, it is crucial to understand the concept and purpose of a currency transaction report, also known as CTR. CTR is a report made by United States financial institutions regarding all transactions that involve sums of money equal to or greater than $10,000. These reports are presented to FinCEN, and they involve all sorts of transactions. Regarding currency transaction reports, the definition of currency includes coin and paper money legally issued by a country.
As currency transaction reports evolve, they become more efficient and technologically advanced. As an example, most financial institutions now have programs that automatically create CTRs when transactions of over $10,000 are successfully completed. Generally, the software fills in most of the information regarding the client, and employees now have the option of specifying on the form according to levels of suspicion.
Since the option to mark transactions as suspicious was added in 1996, it has aided to revolutionize financial institutions and the government combat against financial crimes and money laundering. Before it’s accrual, financial institutions had to make an official phone call to legal enforcement in order to look at a transaction. Naturally, these institutions concerned about the privacy of their customers, and they did not want to be held liable for releasing any information to the public. But, with the creation of the Money Laundering Control Act in 1986, privacy no longer became an issue. This meant that the government could eventually add the “suspicious transaction” and sending it to the top of CTRs without worrying about institutions potentially being liable.
If a customer finds out that a CTR has been filed and then chooses to end the transaction, a bank employee must fill out a suspicious activity report (SAR).
The Bank is not obliged to inform the customer of the reporting to be made at the time of the suspicious transaction. If the customer wishes to cancel the transaction due to the report, the bank must still complete the suspicious activity report.