WASHINGTON (10/14/09)--The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) is increasing its outreach effort to financial institutions and has announced it will begin gathering information from depository institutions with under $5 billion in assets on their efforts to implementing anti-money laundering (AML) programs. This outreach effort builds on “knowledge gained from FinCEN's previous program of meetings and informational visits with larger financial institutions,” the FinCEN release said. In remarks accompanying a Tuesday release, FinCEN Director James H. Freis, Jr. said that FinCEN’s outreach is an effort to “hear about how smaller-to-moderate size depository institutions are implementing anti-money laundering (AML) programs, the unique challenges facing these institutions, and where additional guidance from FinCEN could be helpful." According to the release, FinCEN will select no fewer than 15 institutions to examine how they comply with the four components of a Bank Secrecy Act compliance program, which include the designation of a compliance officer, staff training, proper internal controls, and independent audit. FinCEN recently completed a similar program that focused on the 15 largest depository institutions. Financial institutions that wish to participate in the program may email firstname.lastname@example.org by November 30, 2009. According to FinCEN, the email should contain contact information for their institution, the asset size and geographic location of the institution, and the type of charter that the institution operates under. Financial institutions should also tell FinCEN whether they prefer an on-site visit from FinCEN or will visit FinCEN offices themselves. For the full FinCEN release, use the resource link.