Experts share advice to implement watertight AML systems after learning from the NatWest case.
Consumer Trust in Online Banking
NatWest’s landmark money-laundering case has dealt a huge blow to consumer trust in online banking; an industry that more than three quarters (76%) of UK consumers already admit they don’t fully trust, according to research from anti-money laundering specialists, SmartSearch.
The ongoing lawsuit being faced by the high street bank has put others on high alert to the threats and scale of money laundering in the UK, but experts warn this case is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to financial crime in the UK.
So, what can businesses learn from NatWest to avoid the same costly pitfalls? John Dobson, CEO at SmartSearch, shares his expert insight:
Customer trust is shaken
Among the high street banks there really are no two ways about it, your customers must trust that their money is safe with you. Never has this been more prevalent either, with the pandemic forcing many into online banking after the closure of more than 200 branches around the country last year.
With NatWest now facing criminal prosecution after the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) accused them of failing to appropriately scrutinise numerous suspicious cash payments, this scandal has not only damaged the bank’s reputation but has also impacted consumer trust across the industry.
We know from our research that trust is paramount, so it’s more important now than ever that businesses do everything possible to instil trust among their customer base.
Better electronic identity verification
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a case of this scale in recent years. Australia’s Commonwealth Bank fell into similar difficulties in 2018 and ended up paying £400 million in fines as a result of failing to adhere to the strict AML regulations.
Even in pre-pandemic times, AML procedures and regulations would frequently change and update to ensure they were as robust as possible, which unfortunately makes way for human error. Over the past year, the use of electronic verification has accelerated, as has the need for more rigorous online security checks.
Developing the right procedure before implementing it is key. By adopting a watertight, multi-layered identity check process, you will eliminate the chances of fraud and ensure any suspicious activity is flagged.
Combine the right technology with robust training
Utilising this kind of system whilst ensuring all staff are kept up to speed on AML law and policy will go a long way to preventing any shortfalls in the process, which will ultimately safeguard against failings.
At SmartSearch we have developed an innovative TripleCheck system, requiring all customers to complete a three stage ID check, including documentation checks, facial recognition and digital fraud and data referencing checks.
This approach makes it easy for businesses to identify and eliminate fraudulent activity, helping them to stay AML compliant at all times to avoid sanctions.