21 Jan 24

Bank Record Subpoenas: Handling Federal Requests for Financial Information

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Last Updated on: 21st January 2024, 10:46 pm

Table of Contents


A bank record subpoena is a legal request from a federal agency, such as the FBI or IRS, demanding that a bank turn over financial records and account information belonging to an individual or business. Receiving such a subpoena can be concerning for both banks and their customers, so it’s important to understand the process and options for responding.

Key Points

  • Banks are legally required to comply with valid federal subpoenas requesting customer financial information. However, there are procedures in place for challenging overly broad or questionable subpoenas.
  • When a bank receives a subpoena, they will typically notify affected customers to give them a chance to file a motion to quash the subpoena if they believe it is invalid or excessive. There are specific time frames for responding.
  • Customers can hire legal counsel to help them file motions against subpoenas requesting sensitive personal information. Arguments may involve issues of privacy, relevance, or abuse of authority.
  • Both banks and their customers can face penalties for failing to comply with legitimate federal subpoenas, so following proper procedures is important. This may require delicate balancing of competing legal interests.
  • Subpoena compliance often involves negotiations with federal agencies to narrow the scope of requested records or have sensitive documents protected from public release. Experienced legal counsel can greatly assist with this process.