The latest years in the Eurozone’s financial services industry can be characterised by the banks inability to remain compliant, ranging from the highest European money laundering scandal from Danske Bank, to its local rival, ING, paying over €775m in penalties last year. The bank ABN Amro has become the latest to join this trend by revealing it is under investigation by the Dutch prosecutor over allegedly failing to provide sufficient due diligence and monitoring of customers.
Following the allegations, ABN has announced that its annual compliance costs will go up to €140m this year, resulting to an increase of 40% relative to its same expenses for 2018.
With a large number of high-profile scandals within the Eurozone, this latest announcement does nothing but expose even further the weakness that European banks hold towards unlawful practices. Thus, reinforcing the need of a tightened regulatory framework.
The current environment in which European banks operate already provide a challenging environment in which to do business. These hurdles, along with the ever-increasing costs devoted to compliance practices, will do nothing but increase the difficulty to make profits, reinforcing the need from banks to address compliance with the seriousness it requires.
In light of the scandals aforementioned, ABN Amro, among many other banks, should change its approach towards compliance by conducting a thorough review of their practices from top to bottom. That is, question the effectiveness of their current processes. Do you need to recruit compliance professionals with a different skillset? Is there sufficient training available to assure personnel can handle all the paperwork to be processed? Are there any AML/KYC technologies we should consider?
These are nothing but the first questions banks should be asking themselves, in what is a long journey towards compliance efficiency.
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