Correspondent banking is crucial for international banking and financial operations, enabling banks to offer services in foreign currencies and facilitate cross-border transactions.
However, with the rise of financial crime, correspondent banking has become a high-risk area, especially in terms of anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing. The amount of money being laundered globally every year is equivalent to 2-5% of the global GDP, making it one of the biggest challenges for correspondent banks.
In this article, we’ll examine the AML challenges faced by correspondent banking and explain how AI-powered technologies can address them.
AML (Anti-Money Laundering) refers to a set of laws, regulations, and procedures designed to prevent the illegal generation of funds through criminal activities, such as drug trafficking, terrorism, and corruption.
AML legislations require financial institutions to establish and maintain effective AML risk assessment and management systems within their correspondent banking operations. This includes conducting customer due diligence, ongoing monitoring of transactions, fraud detection, and reporting suspicious activities to relevant authorities.
Failure to comply with these AML regulations can result in significant fines, regulatory enforcement action, and reputational damage.
Correspondent banking relationships often involve two banks that operate in different jurisdictions, and the correspondent bank may not have detailed information about the respondent bank’s customers or transactions. This lack of information makes it easier for criminals to launder money.
Additionally, cross-border transactions can further complicate the identification of funds, and limited monitoring systems make it difficult to detect suspicious activity and prevent money laundering.
All of these reasons make it susceptible to various money laundering and financial crime activities, leading to several AML challenges financial institutions need to take into consideration.
Here are some of the AML challenges in correspondent banking emerging due to the complexity of correspondent banking networks, high volume of transactions, and increased regulatory scrutiny.
Correspondent banking relationships require robust KYC procedures to identify and verify the identities of all parties involved in a transaction. This includes understanding the nature of the customer’s business, purpose of the transaction, and source of funds.
Generally, financial institutions conduct banking transactions in high volume and frequency. This nature of correspondence banking makes it challenging to identify unusual or suspicious transactions that may indicate money laundering or terrorist financing.
As correspondent banking transactions rely on electronic channels, FI systems may be vulnerable to cyber threats, such as hacking, data breaches, and phishing attacks. These attacks can compromise the integrity and security of the transaction data, making it difficult to identify and prevent money laundering activities.
Most FIs utilise the process of screening individuals, entities, and transactions against a variety of sanctions lists, politically exposed persons (PEP) lists, and other databases to identify potential AML risks.
However, the AML screening process can generate a high number of false positives. These corrupted risk ratings make it challenging for financial institutions to identify and investigate genuine suspicious activities.
Conducting regular AML risk assessments and investigations require a high amount of financial resources, technical expertise, and appropriate technological tools. Falling short of resources to conduct these investigations can lead to delayed responses to fraudulent activities and non-compliance.
Just like every part of our lives, AI-based technologies have the potential to revolutionise AML compliance in correspondent banking. Here are some ways AI and machine learning can help prevent challenges related to AML compliance and help detect fraudulent activities.
The KYC process can be automated using AI-powered systems, which can analyse customer data from various sources and cross-reference it against sanctions lists, PEP lists, and other databases. This helps provide financial institutions with a more comprehensive view of their customers and their transactions and allows them to flag potential money laundering activities easily.
AI can analyse large volumes of transactional data in real time to identify patterns and anomalies that may indicate money laundering or terrorist financing. Moreover, machine learning algorithms can learn from previous cases of money laundering and adapt to new emerging threats.
Network traffic can be analysed using AI-powered systems to identify and prevent cyber threats. Suspicious patterns in data can be detected and potential phishing attacks can be identified using advanced technologies, like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and sentiment analysis. This helps prevent the compromise of sensitive transactional data.
The number of false-positive alerts generated by AML screening processes can be significantly reduced using AI. By analysing and interpreting data more accurately, genuine suspicious activities can be identified, reducing the need for manual review.
AML risk assessment and investigations can be automated using AI, making them more efficient and cost-effective. This helps financial institutions allocate their resources more effectively and respond more promptly to fraud.
Ready to elevate your compliance operations? Look no further than RISQ Compliance, the groundbreaking all-in-one treasury compliance solution from Globit.
With over 23 years of experience in treasury solutions, we’ve created the industry’s first comprehensive compliance solution, covering everything from trading limits to market conformity checks and outlier detection.
RISQ Compliance is powered by AI algorithms that enable real-time detection of unusual trades, giving you the tools you need to stay ahead of potential risks, meet AML regulations, and manage correspondent banking operations smoothly.
Stop struggling with manual compliance checks and say hello to a faster, more efficient, and more secure compliance process. Learn more about Globit’s RISQ Compliance to see how it can revolutionise your compliance operations.