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BBVA builds global financial crime prevention unit

BBVA builds global financial crime prevention unit

BBVA has announced the launch of a unit to further strengthen the bank’s financial crime prevention structure.

The unit is comprised of 800 people within the BBVA group.

Two hubs have already been set up in Spain and Mexico, with other countries the bank operates in expected to follow suit in the coming months.

The bank states that technology and data will play a key role in this new unit. BBVA also notes the use of advanced analytical models and artificial intelligence, as well deepening their knowledge of the transaction behaviour of their customers. The bank has opted for a single, vertical responsibility for their preventative operating model.

Natalia Ortega, head of the new global financial crime prevention unit says: “We want to build a comprehensive solution model to the threat of financial crime for our customers, allowing us to focus our efforts on their protection, while preventing the use of financial institutions for unlawful pursuits.”

She continues: “Financial crime ranges from the most basic theft or fraud targeting a single customer to large-scale operations run by organized crime outfits, which can sometimes be transnational in scale. This highlights the need to integrate functions that go beyond what has traditionally been defined as fraud prevention, as we broaden our capabilities to detect any unlawful activity that takes place within the bank.”

This move comes amid banks preparing for the rising levels of financial crime, and crime continuing to become more sophisticated.

Ortega explains: “BBVA has already gone some of the way in recent years. In 2022 we managed to thwart 75% of fraud attempts against our customers, thanks to advanced models and the use of new prevention tools. We put various defence mechanisms in place, from training and awareness-raising among employees and customers about human factor risk, to investing in new technology that allows us to detect unusual behaviour in customer accounts in real time.”

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