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Time to advance payments filtering techniques

When you consider the payments filtering techniques used by banks a decade ago, advancements have clearly been made. But when you compare this to the real-time, high capacity capabilities found in the front office, AML compliance still has some way to go. All too often banks are having to dedicate vast amounts of manual resource to their filtering operations, as a result of technology that doesn’t fit the bill.


Many banks today can claim that they’re achieving AML compliance. In Europe, for example, all but two countries have implemented the 3rd AML Directive. But this doesn’t mean they’re doing this well. I wouldn’t be surprised if most banks are still relying on relatively weak and inflexible systems – leading to high costs and complexities. It’s no wonder the FSA called for improvements to be made to sanction screening systems and controls last year!


Many banks are therefore likely to be reviewing their AML strategies. When doing so, they should take into account the regional cross-over of the regulatory landscape. A filtering hub can help address this and can bring other benefits to the table – efficiencies, scale, reduced op risk, lower costs. These days filtering should check every field of each transaction against the watch lists in real-time.


Another way banks can save themselves a lot of time and cost when it comes to sanctions screening is to reduce the relentless volume of false positive alerts of high risk payments. This must, however, be done without impacting the level of filtering diligence and accuracy. If banks can achieve this, they can massively reduce manual checking and keep alerts to a manageable amount. Mastering both efficiency and effectiveness when screening against sanctions also means they can ease the compliance burden considerably.


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