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How Long Must Banks Keep Account Information?

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Banks have a wealth of information about their customers, including contact, identification, and tax information. It is important for institutions and customers alike to know how long banks must retain specific documents.

What The Law Says

Under the jurisdiction of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), all financial institutions must implement Customer Identification Programs. These programs are intended to minimize the risk of money laundering. The FDIC’s guidelines require banks to gather and retain savings and checking account data, including contact information, forms of identification, and details about taxes. Once a savings or checking account has been closed, a bank must hold onto all of this information for five years.

The Bank Security Act dictates that banks must maintain a comprehensive history of every savings and checking account for a minimum of five years after they first obtain the information.

What Must Banks Keep Records Of?

Banks must also hold on to records pertaining to the following for a minimum of five years:

  • Account statements
  • Checks exceeding $100
  • Deposits exceeding $100
  • Signature cards
  • Certificates of deposit that were purchased or presented
  • Extensions of credit exceeding $10,000
  • Fund transfers exceeding $3,000
  • International transactions exceeding $10,000
  • Monetary instrument purchases exceeding $3,000
  • Taxpayer identification numbers (TIN)
  • Suspicious activity reports and any supporting documentation
  • Currency transaction reports
  • Exempt person designations
  • Customer identification programs
  • Reports and supporting documentation filed with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), including foreign bank certification
  • Any other records necessary to reconstruct transactions

Additionally, after the records for fund transfers exceeding $3,000 have been obtained, a bank must hold onto them for a minimum of five years. These records must include the original or a copy of the payment order as well as the contact information for the giving and receiving parties, the date of the transfer, the account information, and any special instructions that were provided for the transfer. These guidelines don’t apply to fund transfers in which the giving and receiving parties were the same person and in which both parties used the same bank.

In some instances, a bank may be requested or ordered to keep some of their records for a longer period of time. For example, a bank may receive a U.S. Treasury Department Order or a financial institution may decide that it’s in their best interest to hold onto certain documents during a law enforcement investigation.

Each institution must decide how they would like to store their information. Originals, copies, microfilm, and electronic documents are all acceptable forms as long as the information is easy to access.

When the required time limits are up, destroying such records is paramount for customer privacy. UCI offers comprehensive document destruction services, including hard drive destruction, to ensure that you destroy all confidential bank documents securely. To learn more about how we can serve your business, contact us today.