Exploratory Data Analytics To Fight Financial Crime- How To Effectively Prevent Fraud In The Fintech Industry

Combating global financial criminal activity, from money laundering and market misconduct to sanctions, terrorist financing, bribery, and corruption, costs an estimated US$1.3 trillion annually, according to a 2018 Refinitiv Survey. Moreover, with global regulators imposing nearly US$26 billion in fines in the last decade for non-compliance with AML(Anti-Money Laundering), Online KYC(Know Your Customer), and Sanctions regulations, there is a material need for change.

Governments and regulators put financial companies on the front line to fight against financial crime with increasingly rigorous compliance requirements. However, trade institutions are finding it challenging to meet these expectations due to legacy technologies and manual processes that no longer keep up with the vast volumes of information produced and the complexity of the global banking ecosystem.

Banks innovating and adopting new technologies and techniques to address regulatory compliance demands will be industry leaders in the years to come. 

Time To Evolve The Fintech Industry

Conventionally financial companies have relied heavily on manual, human intervention in the regulatory reporting process. This remains the common practice today, particularly in the case management workflow. For example, several case investigators review details and write disposition narratives physically before suspicious activities and other compliance issues are reported to them.

However, with the flow of information in and out of banking systems, humans can’t keep pace with demand. As a result, risk alert backlogs are growing faster than operations teams can handle, more often than not. We can use advanced and exploratory data analytics techniques such as AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and cognitive automation to accelerate or automate a significant portion of the labor-intensive work. This reduces operational costs and leaves people free to focus on preventative interventions.

As well as decreasing operational workloads in case management, compliance teams also leverage advanced analytics in many preventative financial crime use cases, including enriching the KYC process, enhancing sanctions screening performance, and monitoring transactional activity, helping to identify risks and opportunities proactively.

Machine learning models accelerate the closure of a risk alert backlog and have a higher degree of accuracy. 

Innovation- Solution to Legacy Issues

Following are the three examples of opportunities for financial companies and banks to use innovative and exploratory data analytics methods and technologies to improve regulatory compliance, enhance customer experience and lower the cost of operational risk management.

Transaction Monitoring (TM)

In Anti-Money Laundering, ML models enrich transaction monitoring alerts and boost SMR(Suspicious Matter Report) conversion rates – and predict AML scenarios before they occur. In addition, enrichment adds potentially essential details about the customers, beneficiaries, or accounts associated with the respective alert, such as:

  • Using previous cases, SMRs or TTR(Transaction Threshold Reports)
  • Existing scoring processes that assess the potential risk of a transaction, customers, series of transactions, or accounts
  • External information such as subpoenas, law enforcement inquiries, or negative news

Machine learning models detect “true positive” results with improved accuracy than traditional methods and even predict significant events before they occur.

Online KYC– Know Your Customer

Organizations must collect, manage, verify, and validate customer data for KYC checks and compliance to implement the required due diligence and permit apt customer risk assessments or investigations. However, building a comprehensive ‘single view of the customer’ spanning various source systems and multiple digital interactions has been a challenge for financial companies.

KYC checks and verification have traditionally been manual and inefficient processes, often combined with critical data gaps, errors, and quality issues. However, it’s possible to achieve a better perspective of the customer, enhance the data used to implement due diligence, and provide a contextual basis for determining customer risk and detecting suspicious activity by augmenting human activity with machine learning techniques. So now we can use Online KYC.

Analytics also enables customer segmentation and productive profiling for various business purposes, including compliance and marketing. For example, compliance teams could use customer profiles for risk assessments or investigations. Likewise, enterprises or marketing teams could use this data to create personalized banking offers based on customer preferences.

Effective Sanctions Screening

The performance of screening engines is under pressure due to rapidly altering and increasing regulatory demand. Unfortunately, this is accompanied by the fact that the risk detection capacity of existing systems is unable to keep up. As a result, a typical symptom of inefficient screening is an ever-growing backlog of screening alerts and unsustainable levels of false positives, directly impacting operational costs.

At the core of effective screening, the solution is an uplift of the completeness and the screening engine ingesting the data’s accuracy. Therefore, calibrating the matching and filtering performance of this effective screening engine needs the data to be of high quality, complete, and ultimately resulting in a boost in true positives detection rates and operational efficiency.

In addition to ensuring the screening, the engine is fully operating at peak performance; emerging AI and other analytical assistive options can also be used to address operational efficiency issues related to a particular case investigation.

Machine learning techniques can be combined with predictive calculations based on historical investigator decisions to substantially reduce the number of alerts to be safely dispositioned. In addition, the effort and cost involved are reduced by building processes that result in complete and accurate data and properly optimizing the engine to avoid false positives.

An intelligence-led and data-driven Fight In The Fintech Industry

Financial companies are being challenged internally and externally to keep up with the onerous demands of mitigating financial crime risks. Organizations are finding innovative ways to address issues surrounding SMR conversion rates, KYC due diligence, and screening alert management.

Banks have an increased appetite to go beyond simply flagging suspicious and illegal activities for compliance purposes. The aim is to leverage data and effective technology to cost-effectively identify potential criminal behavior and prevent illegal activities from occurring. Complete and accurate data is vital to resolve these issues, and the uplift of data quality will immediately affect the existing monitoring and screening engines’ performance.

Conclusion

Advanced analytics, such as AI, machine learning, and automation, can help filter out false positives and improve inefficiencies in existing investigative processes. As a result, there are many opportunities for data and analytics to drive efficiencies and operational cost reductions and, more importantly, to identify intelligence-led and data-driven ways to tackle financial crime.

For all of this, you need the best resources you can get. We at Signzy identify your needs and help you forge the solutions using our AI-driven API resources, which are completely customizable. Check out our website to learn more.

About Signzy

Signzy is a market-leading platform that is redefining the speed, accuracy, and experience of how financial institutions are onboarding customers and businesses – using the digital medium. The company’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering totally customizable workflows. It gives these players access to an aggregated marketplace of 240+ bespoke APIs that can be easily added to any workflow with simple widgets.

Signzy is enabling ten million+ end customer and business onboarding every month at a success rate of 99% while reducing the speed to market from 6 months to 3-4 weeks. It works with over 240+ FIs globally, including the 4 largest banks in India, a Top 3 acquiring Bank in the US, and has a robust global partnership with Mastercard and Microsoft. The company’s product team is based out of Bengaluru, and it has a strong presence in Mumbai, New York, and Dubai.

Visit www.signzy.com for more information about us.

You can reach out to our team at reachout@signzy.com

Written By:

Mahesh Mohan

Mahesh is a Creative Writer intent on learning and sharing knowledge. He believes Finance is the matrix of functionality, and Technology is evolution. Amalgamate the two, and you get the most dynamic beast in modern civilization- Fintech. He explores this sphere with keen eyes on the terraforming ecosystem. He tries to balance his professional enthusiasm with his passion-driven love for history, mythology, and stories of all forms.

AML and Blockchain – Towards Safer Transactions

Money Laundering refers to the process by which financial transactions are conducted in a way that obscures the link between the funds and the origin. Did you know that money laundering makes up 2-5% of the global GDP, i.e. about 2 trillion? Despite all the measures, compliances, and checks, the increasing rate of financial crimes is proving to be a major roadblock for banks and other financial institutions, thus exposing the loopholes in the traditional financial ecosystem. Being in the business world, you need to be extra careful of these inadequacies so as to avoid any risks. And that’s why, Anti-money Laundering (AML) is the need of the hour for the identification of the customers, tracking, and preventing such crimes. 

AML is the set of laws or regulations made to prevent financial crimes and produce incomes through illegal activities. In today’s digital era, with the evolving complexity and volume of financial transactions, the current state of AML is unable to keep pace with it and track laundering activities happening around the financial ecosystem.

Use of Blockchain

The decentralized system of blockchain technology has proved to be a boon for effectively running cryptocurrencies and covering numerous use cases across businesses and industries.  Blockchain acts as an extremely secure platform to record and store data and information related to AML & KYC compliance. Blockchain-enabled platforms streamline AML/KYC processes on a decentralized ledger. Know Your Customer or KYC plays a significant role in AML as it assesses your business risks and complies with AML laws. 

Industry Challenges

Like every other market sector, even the anti-financial crime departments at most organizations lacked effective monitoring systems and risk-based frameworks during the pandemic era. Major challenges obstructing the AML compliance are as follows: 

 

Facts and Figures on Crimes that Happened in this Industry

Cases of money laundering are not new for any industry. Despite that, more than 57% of the Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) approved by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) still have weak, porous anti-money laundering measures. This basically means that their KYC processes and AML software are not at par with the security standards. In the year 2017, the global anti-money laundering software market stood at a whopping $879.0 million and now, it is projected to reach $2,717.0 million by 2025.

 

Impact of Blockchain on AML

Initially, a customer would be required to create a block that will consist of all of this data and information. These details are then encrypted and the customer will be provided with a digital passkey to see the data. This public blockchain ledger can further supervise, validate, and record every transaction’s complete history, wherein the readers and crypto miners get immediate notifications of transactions as they occur. In case, if one of the transactions gets unverified, it gets blocked immediately, thus preventing any further loss. Blockchain thereby doesn’t just monitor the entry and exit points of such transactions but also provides overall system analysis and reporting mechanism.

Case Study

In the year 2018, Netherlands‘ largest bank ING Group was fined $900 million for failing to spot money laundering. ING had violated laws in preventing money laundering and financing terrorism for years by not vetting the owners of client accounts and not tracking and analyzing the unusual transactions carried out through them. This came after January 2018 saw Citibank being fined $70 million for the shortcomings in its anti-money laundering policies. The reason behind this penalty was non-compliance with OCC’s 2012 order, due to which the bank failed to complete corrective actions to address AML compliance issues as required.  

How does Signzy Position Itself as a Tech Thought Leader and How Have We Adopted a Change to Make the System?

You can make use of reliable blockchain platforms to mitigate the risks caused due to shortcomings in AML regulations and delayed KYC due diligence. Procedures like AML and KYC can be effectively managed through the digital onboarding by Signzy. With customizable APIs and digital tools, Signzy assists you to conduct safe and compliant AML, KYC, and other requirements. 

Don’t wait for the mishap to happen. Connect with Signzy today, and ensure secured financial transactions. 

About Signzy 

Signzy is a market-leading platform redefining the speed, accuracy, and experience of how financial institutions are onboarding customers and businesses – using the digital medium. The company’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering customizable workflows. In addition, it gives these players access to an aggregated marketplace of 240+ bespoke APIs that can be easily added to any workflow with simple widgets.

Signzy is enabling ten million+ end customer and business onboarding every month at a success rate of 99% while reducing the speed to market from 6 months to 3-4 weeks. It works with over 240+ FIs globally, including the 4 largest banks in India, a Top 3 acquiring Bank in the US, and has a robust global partnership with Mastercard and Microsoft. The company’s product team is based out of Bengaluru and has a strong presence in Mumbai, New York, and Dubai.

Visit www.signzy.com for more information about us.

You can reach out to our team at reachout@signzy.com

Written By:

Signzy

Written by an insightful Signzian intent on learning and sharing knowledge.

Digitizing The Digitized- How Can KYC Secure Cryptocurrency Transactions?

With an expected growth projection of nearly USD 24 billion for the blockchain market by 2023, the industry is all set to an exponential start this decade. The terms blockchain and cryptocurrency have had a symbiotic evolution. This has rendered them nearly interchangeable in usage. Nonetheless, we must understand what exactly cryptocurrencies are to understand it’s challenging.

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies with purchasing and selling value. They use an online ledger and cryptography for secure transactions. With over 10,000 types, they are proliferating in many exchanges and have an estimated total value of more than USD 1.7 trillion as of June 2021.

They use blockchain technology eponymously. This makes them the most modern embodiment of economic advancement. Considering the potential cryptocurrencies have in terraforming the global economy, understanding the associated challenges and improving upon them is essential.

Challenges In The World of Cryptocurrencies

There is an increasing preference for cryptocurrencies in global transactions. The primary reason is the minimal involvement of bureaucracy. A more decentralized approach to monetary interactions also helps. But this can be useful as well as risky. The major challenges are faced during onboarding and include:

  • Financial Fraud
  • Money Laundering
  • Terrorist Funding
  • Government Regulations

Fraud, Laundering, and Terrorist Funding

Cryptocurrencies are used worldwide. Their regulations are different and oftentimes vague than state-issued currencies. Fraudsters are keen on utilizing this as a loophole. It helps them conduct illegal and fraudulent transactions. Cryptocurrencies can be used for money laundering and in some severe cases even terrorist funding. This is a dangerous aspect and regulating such activities requires a careful approach. 

Fraudsters may use false identities, stolen identities, or even shell entities. They transfer money in the form of cryptocurrencies from one international government jurisdiction to another. If not regulated, the entire industry can become a plethora of financial fraud and danger.

Government Regulations

To prevent fraud, cryptocurrencies are traded with stringent guidelines from many governments and authorities. These strict restrictions can severely impede the ease and speed of onboarding customers. It will also increase the minimum activation requirement alienating potential customers and traders.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges require government-issued identification verification along with good financial credibility for their customers. This makes the initial onboarding process heavily cumbersome. If better methods are not explored, the result would be wasted potential clients for the Exchanges.

Verification and KYC

Novel methods are developed to combat financial fraud in cryptocurrency markets. These methods can reduce any money laundering activities and prevent fraudsters from misusing the resources. Brokers consider ways to reduce the risk involved in onboarding a new customer or trader. Methods to verify an individual while avoiding any financial fraud is given below:

  • KYC- Know Your Customer
  • AML- Anti Money Laundering Measures

KYC

KYC helps establish credibility for the customer. This is done by checking their valid identity proofs and other background data. With advancing technology, it is mostly digital. For an industry using blockchain technology, it is only sensible to have efficient digitization of this entire process. Quality digital KYC helps stop all fraudulent or fake individuals from transacting. Thus, the danger is averted and risk is reduced.

AML Measures

Government agencies place Anti-Money Laundering Measures to prevent any form of financial fraud. Many countries might not have specific guidelines for cryptocurrency regulation. But many a time they fall under stringent AML measures. AML is mandatory to prevent any form of massive money laundering. If not complied properly, today’s resources can be used even for terrorist financing. As a matter of fact, measures for CFT-combatting finance of terrorism is a priority criterion for many institutions.

How Signzy Can Help You?

The advent of technology is making cryptocurrencies create a revolution in the industry. This makes it all the more needed to identify and verify the participants in the industry. Procedures like KYC and AML will only be effective if the appropriate guidelines are followed. Along with which safety measures need to be imposed. Nations are heading forward with this in mind.

But the catch is that, how do you fulfill all the criteria of regulations and safety while maintaining an easy journey for each customer? This is what we excel at.

We at Signzy give you customizable APIs and other resources that help you conduct safe and compliant KYC, AML, and all other requirements you have. We will help you onboard customers and traders of cryptocurrencies onto your platforms with ease and safety. Our seamless UI will make the journey all the more engaging. With the numerous products, services, and resources in our arsenal, we can make your enterprise better.

About Signzy

Signzy is a market-leading platform redefining the speed, accuracy, and experience of how financial institutions are onboarding customers and businesses – using the digital medium. The company’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering customizable workflows. In addition, it gives these players access to an aggregated marketplace of 240+ bespoke APIs that can be easily added to any workflow with simple widgets.

Signzy is enabling ten million+ end customer and business onboarding every month at a success rate of 99% while reducing the speed to market from 6 months to 3-4 weeks. It works with over 240+ FIs globally, including the 4 largest banks in India, a Top 3 acquiring Bank in the US, and has a robust global partnership with Mastercard and Microsoft. The company’s product team is based out of Bengaluru and has a strong presence in Mumbai, New York, and Dubai.

Visit www.signzy.com for more information about us.

You can reach out to our team at reachout@signzy.com

Written By:

 

Mahesh Mohan

A Creative Writer intent on learning and sharing knowledge.

 

Bankrupting terrorism with KYC AML best practices

AML compliance has been at the forefront to fight the threat of global terrorism. No wonder Governments across the world take it seriously. In 2018, U.S. Bancorp agreed to pay $613 million in penalties for a faulty KYC AML check.

According to the American Banker, U.S. Bancorp had already provided for $600 million in its books, related to expected enforcement action by regulators. Not financial loss, such non-compliance erodes customer trust and confidence, too. Many times, the reasons for non-compliance go beyond intent. It is an operational issue.

For example, OakNorth Bank had disconnected screening systems. One team handled anti-money laundering checks and another handled customer screening checks. Its screening and continuous monitoring processes to determine if customers are a Politically Exposed Person (PEP) were in place for its savings activities. OakNorth Bank did not have an option. It had to integrate its current tech stack and condense data into a single view, for compliance.

Technology has created a world of extraordinary economic opportunity. It has connected businesses and customers over traditional boundaries of language and geography. On the flip side, it has also aided the growth of global terrorism and crime. This has increased the danger and complexity of doing business around the world. 

Businesses are under pressure to identify, assess, and comprehend exactly who they’re doing business with, to battle the international threat of terrorism and financial crime. Banks and financial institutions are facing this situation for KYC AML check.

KYC is a subset of AML

It is understandable that AML and KYC are often confused. It is partly because the two acronyms are used together in the context of compliance and financial fraud. AML is a broader discipline that encompasses KYC. Here is a quick capture.

AML

AML refers to the procedures taken by financial institutions and governments. It is to prevent and combat financial crimes, including money laundering and terrorism financing. In the fight against organized crime and terrorism, anti-money laundering (AML) procedures are an important part of any financial compliance program. According to the United Nations, between $800 billion and $2 trillion (2–5% of global GDP) is laundered each year around the world.

KYC

The process of authenticating a customer’s identification is KYC, or “Know Your Customer.” To use a company’s service, each client must supply credentials such as identification documents. KYC verification procedures assist with anti-money laundering. It gives a framework for financial institutions to meet ever-changing regulations. It applies to Fintech also. Because Fintech firms provide financial services, AML regulations need them to authenticate their customers’ identities before providing their services. This ensures they are dealing with legitimate businesses.

KYC AML check best practices

What is the need for KYC AML check best practices? How do you measure success?

The clear response is that you avoid a penalty for non-compliance with regulations. It also keeps laundered funds out of the financial system. Thus, protecting civil society from crimes.

Is the above enough? Should banks stop with the minimum compliance requirements? Are there methods to improve the business while complying with? There is value to leverage best practices that are dependable, efficient, and cost-effective.

Comply 100% to the Current AML Regime

AML compliance is the least minimum banks must achieve. Slip-ups invite hefty fines. Reputation also suffers. The cost of non-compliance far exceeds the cost of compliance. Banks can add value to this ‘cost’ function by getting more business insights out of compliance. Banks can make operational improvements with technology to comply better at a lesser cost. The current AML compliance regime in the United States covers the following.

  • KYC
  • Reporting – Financial institutions file currency reports and report suspicious transactions through Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR)
  • “Follow the money” thereby maintaining a paper trail by keeping appropriate records of financial transactions.
  • Internal controls in line with the Banking Secrecy Act (BSA)

A shared Know Your Customer/Customer Due Diligence (KYC/CDD)

The Signzy blog has written at length about KYC. The need for identity verification cannot be overemphasized. Rogue identities, false identities, and misrepresented identities, all can put paid to the proper functioning of the global financial system. KYC is the first and the most critical step, to prevent the entry of rogue elements.

Banks are expected to have a robust customer identification program. Banks should demand government-issued identification. They should also examine whether extra information is required. This information could include occupation, employer, and business affiliations. For low-risk customers, simplified due diligence is enough. But, in other high-risk cases, basic and sometimes enhanced due diligence (EDD) becomes necessary. This comes at an increased cost of business to banks.

Banks are pooling resources to tackle customer due diligence (CDD) requirements. Statutory bodies like The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) are also supporting these initiatives. It seems logical. If one Bank has made all the efforts to KYC, other banks can piggyback. Such a shared KYC improves risk management and financial inclusion. This shared KYC can be executed in the following ways:

  • Centralized agency approach that pools KYC across banks,
  • Multilateral information sharing across banks,
  • A combination of the above

Customer data sharing guidelines and internal compliance requirements especially for global banks might hinder such initiatives.

Reporting and Audit

Approximately, $85 trillion was the global GDP in 2020. The United States accounted for almost one-fourth of it. It is a staggering amount of money. Banks and financial institutions are instrumental to money flows that eventually contribute to the world economy.

Imagine, keeping a track of billions of transactions that make up the world economy. It is a tall task. This scale throws up the following challenges.

  • Automation – Because manual steps for this sheer scale are prone to errors of omission and commission
  • Documentation – To maintain paper-trail to help ‘follow the money.’
  • Monitoring – To ensure compliance and proactive identification of high-risk transactions

Automation

It is virtually impossible to use manual methods to meet the sheer volume of compliance reporting and audit requirements. Other than feasibility, other factors emerge too – mistakes and time. Banks use AML software to automate all their AML compliance activities. The software also prepares them to scale compliance with the change in rules and regulations. Such software is custom-built with preferred vendors. Banks also develop this internally with their technology teams. AML automation software boosts speed, efficiency, and prepares the organization to handle increasing volumes of data.

Documentation

AML compliance features are designed to enable law enforcement agencies to pursue investigations for civil and criminal penalties if warranted. The features are detailed enough to provide evidence useful in prosecuting money laundering and other financial crimes. This requires institutions to collect, store and analyze large amounts of KYC data as part of the customer onboarding process. Additionally, there is the need to store data related to transactions in line with the typologies that form part of the law/guidelines. The overall idea is that Banks should be competent to furnish necessary information via reporting, or when called for. AML Software ensures that no transaction howsoever trivial goes unnoticed and undocumented.

Monitoring

Monitoring is a nightmare. Because it isn’t just compliance that a bank has to deal with. Internal risk measures are also at play. From a regulatory perspective, the activities that Banks have to monitor are broad. It includes,

  • Illegal activities
  • Suspicious transactions
  • Transactions above financial thresholds
  • Unusual activity

AML software can address most of the hygiene ‘black and white’ monitoring requirements. It is the ambiguous ‘grey area’ activities that need more sophistication. Machine learning models (ML) can come to the rescue here. ML models can continuously learn from structured and unstructured data, thereby flagging suspicious and unusual transactions. This will ensure proactive compliance and aggressive redressal of risks.

Correct False Positives

A Dow Jones-sponsored ACAMS [CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) is the global gold standard in AML certifications] survey done a few years ago reveals that false positives are one of the most challenging aspects of KYC AML checks for bank compliance teams. False positives are a drain on a bank’s resources in its pursuit to track down money-laundering criminals. It is not difficult to understand why false positives are a problem.

Historically, rule-based models in line with regulations, flag off customer activities. It is usually based on value and frequency. Money laundering criminals are far smarter than that. Soon, bank systems tend to lag in detecting suspicious behaviors by account holders.

Continuously evolving customer risk-rating models could be one way to solve this problem. Mckinsey proposed a framework on how banks can approach building their customer risk-rating models. The best practices proposed by Mckinsey include simple ideas like data quality and simple model architecture. The best practices also include advanced ones like network science tools. Mckinsey goes on to identify the maturity level of the institutions implementing such customer risk-rating models. The maturity levels – Horizon 1,2,3 – indicate the effectiveness and efficiency of the implementing institutions. Banks would do well to reflect on how they can move up the maturity curve in identifying false positives, thus boosting productivity.

Balance Customer Experience with Compliance

AML compliance is not a trade-off. It does interfere with customer experience. But, it isn’t something banks can de-prioritize. If a high-value customer’s transactions look unusual, that will need to be screened and reported. Even during the KYC process, it is important to manage customer expectations. Proper systems and trained personnel can help. Customer drop-outs are a fallout of such measures. Banks have to identify and invest in the right kind of digital onboarding software, to minimize dropouts. At the same time, banks should prepare to accept drop-outs as the intended outcomes of a larger compliance culture.

AML will evolve

Criminal interests will undoubtedly keep anti-money laundering professionals on their toes. A certificate program in anti-money laundering is a testimony to this. Over the last two decades, right from 9/11 to the credit crisis, AML has evolved for the better. New rules and regulations have gotten added to the AML playbook year after year. Banks in the US are exploring Blockchain technologies to stay ahead of the curve to balance the ever-increasing challenge of AML compliance and associated costs. 

AML proponents have claimed that AML related restrictions have been successful in enabling the fight against terrorism since 9/11. Critics however demand more evidence. Let the debate continue.

About Signzy

Signzy is a market-leading platform redefining the speed, accuracy, and experience of how financial institutions are onboarding customers and businesses – using the digital medium. The company’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering customizable workflows. In addition, it gives these players access to an aggregated marketplace of 240+ bespoke APIs that can be easily added to any workflow with simple widgets.

Signzy is enabling ten million+ end customer and business onboarding every month at a success rate of 99% while reducing the speed to market from 6 months to 3-4 weeks. It works with over 240+ FIs globally, including the 4 largest banks in India, a Top 3 acquiring Bank in the US, and has a robust global partnership with Mastercard and Microsoft. The company’s product team is based out of Bengaluru and has a strong presence in Mumbai, New York, and Dubai.

Visit www.signzy.com for more information about us.

You can reach out to our team at reachout@signzy.com

Written By:

Signzy

Written by an insightful Signzian intent on learning and sharing knowledge.

APIs In AML- How To Leverage Technology And Tackle Money Laundering

Introduction

Last year Forbes reported that 2% to 5% of the world’s GDP is laundered every year. This estimates to an amount between $800 billion and $2 trillion. The astounding fact about the report was that only 10% of the laundered money is detected, implying more than 90% of the laundered money is unknown to most regulatory bodies and financial institutions.

Money laundering is a major issue in the world. Governments are striving to find newer methods to tackle it. Most financial institutions and companies are accustomed to traditional methods for preventing money laundering. These include in-person verification or traditional automation.

But with the advent of advanced technologies like AI and Machine Learning, they have to adapt for better results. The latest technology integrated Suspicious Activity Reports(SARs) caused more than 31% of laundered money to be blocked.

Thus the need for technology in preventing money laundering is not a matter of if, but when. But how do we do it? What technological tool can we use? Here comes Application Programming Interfaces(APIs) for the financial industry. This article explores what AML screening solutions APIs are and how they can help in preventing money laundering.

Why Is AML Essential In The Financial Industry?

Anti-Money Laundering includes all measures taken by authorities, institutions and individuals to prevent financial criminals from disguising and hiding illegally obtained money as legitimate income. It is essential as money laundering is a financial crime that affects the economy on a microscale as well as momentous levels. The methods of money laundering are transforming with the development of technology. It is only essential that AML screening solutions up their game too.

In July 1989, many nations came together to form the Financial Action Task Force(FATF). The summit was held in Paris and aimed at analysing laundering risks and preventing them with AML measures and AML screening solutions. But after the 9/11 attacks, in October 2001 the FATF updated their agenda and mission to include modes to stop terrorist funding through money laundering. AML procedures have been made better through the decades since.

The European Union also acknowledged and implemented the first AML directive in 1990. It prevented using the flaws in the financial system for laundering. Now The Union is one of the pioneers in revising and upgrading AML measures to reduce risk and terrorist funding. The International Monetary Fund(IMF) with its 189 member states also takes initiatives for AML with compliance measures for financial institutions. Thus all governments are forced to ensure compliance and all institutions are expected to follow suit.

In 2019 the US State Department published a report stating general AML measures succeeded only 0.2% because of non-compliance and inefficient processes. More than 85% of the 11500 companies evaluated in the US were not AML compliant. 2019 also saw AML non-compliant banks paying more than $6.2 Billion in fines globally.

 

What Is The AML Process And Why Is Compliance Important?

Aml screening soltuions

Government bodies and other regulators provide guidelines and procedures that companies and financial institutions can follow to prevent money laundering.

  • One of the most important and effective processes is Know Your Customer(KYC). KYC ensures that companies know who their customer is by verifying his financial data with pre-existing credible databases. This way any suspicious activity by the customer can be red-flagged easily.
  • Customer Due Diligence(CDD) is also a relevant procedure for AML. Companies evaluate the risk involved with each customer and take necessary measures. This is the process of CDD. They categorize customers as low, moderate or high risk. For example, a Politically Exposed Person(PEP) falls under the high-risk umbrella.
  • Another measure is setting a limit for transactions to be monitored. For example, in the US any transaction of more than $10,000 is reported by the institution to the authorities for monitoring. Each country has such a limit to detect any massive fraud. Thus, monitoring and reviewing customer transactions without compromising privacy is very important to prevent AML. If any suspicious activity is detected, then an activity report is generated and transferred to the Compliance and Risk Department.

It is of incredible significance that financial companies follow all the regulatory compliance guidelines for AML. Even a single discrepancy can result in dangerous repercussions. Money Laundering is no longer just for the money. It can even be used as a wrench in the equilibrium of world peace. Besides this, if companies don’t comply they are charged heavy fines by regulatory bodies. AML fines amounted to $4.27 billion in 2018 which nearly doubled in 2019 to $8 billion. This is a collective effort and even the smallest of the financial institutions need to play their part well by following the compliance guidelines.

How Are APIs Used To Help Prevent Money Laundering?

Software connections between computer programs or even computers are called Application Programming Interfaces(APIs). It offers services to other software once it is integrated into a working system. It can be grossly described as an intermediary software that helps other applications communicate among themselves. They are used in almost all companies with a demand for any form of software technology.

AML screening solution APIs are taking over not just the financial sector, but any industry interested in innovative automation. This is because APIs offer agility and more importantly scalability for companies. Recently, after several government policy amendments, APIs are starting to play crucial roles in AML and KYC compliance. This is because the verification of tens of thousands of customers is not practical with traditional processes.

APIs are used for almost all forms of innovative verification procedures. It ensures that processing is efficient without human error. Since it can be replicated on a large scale, it becomes commercially viable. In addition to this most APIs can be procured at affordable prices. Hence, be it a large bank or a small financial institution, automation is simple and inexpensive. APIs helpall businesses Combat Financial Terrorism(CFT) at a modest price.

They are in high demand among elite institutions because they offer swifter and inexpensive methods to ensure services meeting customer demands. Since they are adaptable and customizable, they do get an advantage of future-proofing. In the FInancial category alone, more than 2000 types of APIs are used across the globe. This will exponentially grow with advancements in AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain technology.

APIs In AML And Regulatory Compliance

Improved user-friendly APIs are available in the industry now. But it needs to fulfil another crucial criterion for integration into any service or product- Regulatory Compliance. Across the world, there are numerous regulatory guidelines for financial institutions. A good example is the PSD2 changes in Europe. Not only are companies encouraged to accomplish more with AML screening solutions and related technologies, but are fined for any lack of compliance on their part.

Financial Institutions that wait and observe if the new technology trends will be left behind in the race. The most adaptable companies will flourish in the long run. Traditional modes of in-person verification processes and human error packed execution are outdated. APIs can automate almost the entire processes saving companies time and money. On an estimate, more than $500 million is spent by financial institutions for financial crime prevention and compliance requirements.

 

What Are The Benefits Of Using APIs For AML?

Aml screening soltuions

APIs do not merely automate the AML and regulatory processes. They enhance them. There are numerous benefits associated with using APIs for AML and verification processes. They include:

  • TAT is reduced resulting in quicker processing and better customer journey.
  • Near zero human error
  • The extremely customizable nature of APIs makes integration easy.
  • Inexpensive in the long term.
  • The human workforce can focus on discrepancies rather than regular workflow, increasing efficiency.
  • Eliminates all storage spaces as all documentation will be in soft copies.
  • The better customer onboarding experience
  • Better user interface

How Can Signzy Help You?

We offer numerous services, products and AML screening solutions APIs that are useful for your ventures. We Make sure that they are state of the art, because we do not compromise quality. Signzy’s quiver of APIs and associated products are incredibly customizable. You can select which specific APIs suit your requirement and then integrate them into the required systems.

With over 240+ microservice APIs alone, the collection is diverse and versatile. All of our products meet regulatory compliance standards without compromise. But we make sure that the user would not be troubled with inefficient customer journeys. Our systems are efficient and seamless rendering the user experience truly satisfying.

With advancing technology financial institutions and companies deem change. If you do not opt for the right changes, the entire entity’s progress would decelerate. That’s why we at Signzy ensure that you get that which suits your needs. We can make your customer’s journeys easy while making your aspirations easier.

About Signzy

Signzy is a market-leading platform redefining the speed, accuracy, and experience of how financial institutions are onboarding customers and businesses – using the digital medium. The company’s award-winning no-code GO platform delivers seamless, end-to-end, and multi-channel onboarding journeys while offering customizable workflows. In addition, it gives these players access to an aggregated marketplace of 240+ bespoke APIs that can be easily added to any workflow with simple widgets.

Signzy is enabling ten million+ end customer and business onboarding every month at a success rate of 99% while reducing the speed to market from 6 months to 3-4 weeks. It works with over 240+ FIs globally, including the 4 largest banks in India, a Top 3 acquiring Bank in the US, and has a robust global partnership with Mastercard and Microsoft. The company’s product team is based out of Bengaluru and has a strong presence in Mumbai, New York, and Dubai.

Visit www.signzy.com for more information about us.

You can reach out to our team at reachout@signzy.com

Written By:

 

Mahesh Mohan

A Creative Writer intent on learning and sharing knowledge.

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