Record Retention Guidelines for Banks

One hallmark of the banking industry is excellent record keeping. The difficulty comes in the realization that there is a finite amount of storage available, which means the bank simply can’t hang on to every piece of paper forever. With this understanding, comes the decision of what information needs to be kept, and for how long? Of course, every situation is different, so it’s difficult to answer this question explicitly. However, we can point you in the right direction so you can make these determinations on your own.

Where to Start?

When considering your bank’s retention guidelines, it is important to research some best practices in the field. Although there is no “ultimate resource” for all things related to record retention, there are many places to get help. Industry websites like feature help sections that can be of assistance. Or if you want something a little more definitive, you may want to review the federal guidelines from the Federal Financial Institution Examining Council (FFIEC).

Another fantastic resource is On this site, bankers can find suggestions from others in the field, as well as sample retention guidelines and manuals. Samples on cbanc are actual documents in use by members of the site, so you know that they are likely to work in real world situations.

What about Credit Unions?

Although similar to retail banks, credit unions will undoubtedly have some nuances to record retention that their bank brethren do not. A great source of guidance for credit unions is the National Credit Union Association (NCUA). The NCUA is an independent government agency put in place to govern and charter credit unions. Their website,, has a treasure trove of information, including a self-assessment manual that has a section dedicated to record retention. You can find the manual on the NCUA’s website by clicking here.

The resources above should be enough to get you headed in the right direction. As you explore the topic of record retention, you’ll want to keep in mind that additional regulations may apply, so remember to research laws in your locale and at a national level. In the end, we’re sure you’ll create a policy that is great for your bank and its customers.

Learn more about our software that helps financial institutions streamline their retention tracking.

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