Challenge: Improve a Caribbean Bank’s Anti-Money Laundering Program
One of the leading commercial banks in the Caribbean found itself in need of a continuous monitoring solution to help it fulfill its anti-money laundering (AML) compliance requirements.
With more than 2,500 employees, operations in several countries including the United Kingdom, an asset base of USD $4.5 billion and a range of service offerings that include commercial banking, general and life insurance, pension fund management and securities and stock broking, this bank needed a heavy duty, high-performing solution.
While monitoring the various areas of the bank’s operations was challenging, the situation became more dire after the bank grew by acquisition. Acquiring these disparate companies led to the bank inheriting multiple systems and data sources; lacking a single view of customer information; and facing new privacy requirements for offshore jurisdictions.
The high volume of transactions through the bank also brought its own set of challenges. Manual review of transactions was ineffective and inefficient; the bank was unable to identify fraudulent activities or suspicious transactions, or to monitor transactions proactively. To make matters worse, the bank also had to contend with significant data quality issues.
With regulators in North America and other areas of the world increasingly focused on AML, financial institutions such as our client must implement controls to prevent individuals from using the bank’s products and services to disguise illicit proceeds. To meet these regulatory requirements, our client turned to Alessa’s AML Compliance solution to help it overcome these challenges and meet their AML compliance requirements.
Alessa’s AML Compliance solution helped the bank meet their AML compliance requirements through automated transaction monitoring, which identifies fraudulent and suspicious transactions using data analytics. Automating this process significantly increased productivity and allowed employees to spend their time performing more value-added tasks.
Sanctions List Screening
AML regulations require financial institutions to identify high-risk customers by screening individuals or companies against a sanctions list. Alessa now screens the bank’s customers against multiple sanctions lists to identify risky individuals, entities and politically exposed persons (PEPs). Customers are screened during the onboarding process, allowing the bank to decide whether to do business with a particular customer or to perform additional due diligence.
The solution also allows our client to screen its entire customer base periodically to identify changes in a customer’s status. By being tightly integrated with the bank’s core system, our compliance software screens senders and receivers of wires and drafts and notifies the bank of the results in real-time.
By implementing our solution, the bank can now prepare and file regulatory reports, including Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs), Threshold Transaction Reports (TTRs), Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) more efficiently.
Our software saves time by auto-populating these reports—a process that would typically take hours for employees to complete manually. The solution also validates the report entries to prevent invalid or erroneous reports from being submitted to regulators.
Know Your Customer (KYC)
Alessa automatically detects missing and invalid customer details by using data analytics, and the bank’s employees then perform enhanced due diligence on high-risk customers.
Data Quality Management
The solution improved the quality of the bank’s data by identifying duplicates, parsing and standardizing records to ensure they were of the highest quality. The close integration between Alessa’s AML Compliance solution and core banking systems ensures that our client has access to quality data to make business decisions across all branches.
The solution also automatically detects data quality issues and assigns them to stakeholders for resolution. Once resolved, the updated records are returned to the core banking system.
Workflow and Case Management
Alessa’s AML Compliance provided the bank’s compliance team not only with issue reports, but with an automated workflow that allows the bank to manage the remediation process.
The solution offers automatic assignments and alert escalation, and capabilities for comments, indicators and attachments. In addition, our client has access to a full audit trail of all the actions taken to remediate an alert within the system.
After implementing Alessa’s AML Compliance software, the bank achieved some dramatic results, including:
- Significantly reduced the time needed to prepare reports, going from hours to minutes to complete
- Extraction of data is now easier, which facilitates more accurate reporting
- The compliance team can direct their focus to key strategies to mitigate risk
- Efficient workflow management facilitates more accurate analysis
- Automated reporting to regulators has reduced the compliance team’s workload
- Compliance work is now shared throughout the organization, helping to create a culture of compliance and reduce the compliance team’s burden
To learn more about how our software solution can help improve anti-money laundering compliance programs in the Caribbean and elsewhere, contact us today, or get a free demo below.