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SWIFT Sanctions Screening service exceeds 100 customers ahead of Sibos 2013

SWIFT is trumpeting the fact its Sanctions Screening centralised service for small-and-medium-sized financial institutions now has more than 100 customers, ahead of the four-day Sibos 2013 trade show which is due to start 16 September in Dubai, UAE, where the effectiveness of anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions screening technology will no doubt be debated.

Launched last year in the wake of heavy US fines against HSBC and Standard Chartered for allegedly laundering Mexican drug money and Iranian trades, SWIFT’s Sanctions Screening service is intended to help banks cope with the increased regulatory scrutiny around sanctions busting and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures.

Keeping up to date with banned countries, evolving sanctions regulations and complying with the frequently updated lists and AML procedures has become more and more complex for banks. The cost and time-consuming of doing so is sometimes not worth the size of the funds transferred, which is why SWIFT offers a common shared service which is particularly useful for smaller FIs with smaller compliance budgets. The service has been taken up by more than 100 customers, across 50 countries according to the latest figures this month.

“The uptake of Sanctions Screening has surpassed our expectations” says Brigitte De Wilde, head of AML and sanctions initiatives at SWIFT. “The strong adoption highlights the need for our customers to have a cost effective service to screen financial transactions and address the challenges of keeping up-to-date with ever-changing sanctions lists”

As Narendra Singh, chairman and managing director of one of the end users at Bank of Maharashtra, explains, “… because we already use SWIFT messaging, it is cost effective and user friendly. Sanctions Screening is very easy to implement.”

The SWIFT Sanctions Screening service operates by requesting selected SWIFT FIN messages be routed to the centralised screening application, where they are be filtered in real-time and checked against customers’ selected sanctions lists. The service has already been adopted by four central banks and in excess of 30,000 messages are screened daily.

At Sibos 2013 in Dubai, UAE, there will be a demonstration of Sanctions Screening and SWIFT’s compliance offerings on the SWIFT D117 stand and it will no doubt be one of the topics up for debate at the show this year.

Bobsguide will be producing a daily show report from the Dubai World Trade Centre (WTC) venue on 16-19 September. See our Sibos 2013 preview blogs HERE