Ex OFWs invent anti money laundering app

Amidst the $80 million money laundering scandal, a Philippine company composed of young professionals and former Filipino migrant workers developed the country’s first money remittance platform with Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing.

The computer software, according to Mohur Inc. Vice President for Research and Systems Development Nigel E. Canonizado, is part of his company’s 247 RemitPlus, a multi-tenant and modularized computer app that is capable to “monitor” and “suspend” suspicious transactions, fraudulent transactions, covered transactions, and aggregated transactions.

The-Filipino-Times_Ex OFWs invent anti money laundering app

As the copyright owner, Canonizado said in a news release, Mohur is willing to let Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) use their Money Launderer and Terrorist Interdiction Program to monitor “inward transactions” and “outward transactions” generated by banks and remittance companies.

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Global Anti-money Laundering Software Market

Market research analysts predict the global anti-money laundering (AML) software market to grow steadily at a CAGR of around 11% during the forecast period. AML software allows financial institutions and other enterprises to detect suspicious transactions and analyze customer data. Its ability to provide real-time alerts and tools to report suspicious events to maximize security and operational efficiency will foster its adoption during the forecast period.

An important growth driver for this market is the increasing regulatory compliance requirements, which compels financial institutions to adopt AML software. The growing utilization of predictive analytics to reduce false results and to decrease the compliance cost of AML software is a trend that will impel market growth until the end of 2020.

In this market research, analysts have estimated the Americas to be the largest market for AML software during the forecast period. Though the Americas account for the largest market share, the APAC region is envisaged to witness the fastest growth during the predicted period. Factors such as the rising adoption of stringent AML regulations, increasing regulatory compliance, and the growing adoption of these solutions in emerging economies like Australia, China, and India will propel the prospects for market growth in APAC during the estimated period.

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Canadian bank fined $1.1M by anti-money laundering agency

The federal anti-money laundering agency has levied a $1.1-million penalty against an unnamed Canadian bank for failing to report a suspicious transaction and various money transfers.

It is the first time the Ottawa-based Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, has penalized a bank — and it’s being billed as a warning to thousands of other businesses.

Generally, the centre tracks cash flows linked to terrorism, money laundering and other crimes by sifting through millions of pieces of data annually from banks, insurance companies, securities dealers, money service businesses, real estate brokers, casinos and others.

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The Banking Stepchild: Money Service Businesses

Sometimes risk analysis can result in paralysis. Finding your risk tolerance and applying it to specific situations requires a nuanced approach.

I am always wary of anyone who tells me categorical rules – e.g. we do not do business in Russia because it is too risky. In this era of oversimplification, such statements border on intellectual dishonesty.

A careful approach to risk analysis always involves a cost benefit framework. Compliance is not a function that is dedicated to identifying risk and avoiding all potential risks. Compliance is part of an overall cost benefit risk analysis.

As a perfect example of what not to do in managing risks, many of the major banks have adopted a categorical approach to risks risk and declined to do business with money service businesses (“MSBs”). A categorical approach may seem justified based on risk tolerance but it represents a simplistic answer to an otherwise complex issue. To put it another way, it represents lazy compliance thinking.

In the last few years, banks have been accused of terminating all of MSBs as customers, claiming that the risk was too high to engage these businesses. In response, FinCEN issued an order reminding banks not to engage in de-risking by eliminating an entire category of customers.

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Bankers Take Note: FinCEN Issues Guidance for Money Service Businesses

On March 11, 2016, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued guidance on anti-money laundering (“AML”) compliance obligations for money service businesses (“MSBs”) and their agents.  MSBs are defined as the U.S. Postal Service and each of six distinct types of financial services providers: (1) dealers in foreign exchange; (2) check cashers; (3) issuers and sellers of traveler’s checks or money orders; (4) providers of prepaid access; (5) money transmitters; or (6) sellers of prepaid access.  FinCEN’s guidance is intended to clarify the AML compliance obligations of MSBs that operate in principal-agent relationships with domestic agents.  This most recent FinCEN guidance is a must read, not only for MSBs, but for financial institutions that provide banking services to MSBs as well.

Background

The Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act of 1970 (commonly referred to as the “Bank Secrecy Act” or “BSA”) requires U.S. financial institutions to assist U.S. government agencies in detecting and preventing money laundering.  Pursuant to this affirmative obligation, a financial institution must establish and maintain an effective written AML program reasonably designed to prevent the financial institution from being used to facilitate money laundering and the financing of terrorist activities.

In March 2013, the Department of Justice initiated an investigation into those MSBs that it thought posed higher AML risks (commonly referred to as “Operation Choke Point”).  Although the investigation primarily centered on payment processors and payday lenders, Operation Choke Point caused many banks to terminate relationships with MSBs due to perceived increased regulatory and compliance risks.  Over the past two years, FinCEN has attempted to mitigate the impact of Operation Choke Point by issuing guidance that seeks to clarify AML obligations of both MSBs and banks.  This most recent guidance from FinCEN is best understood as a further effort to reassure financial institutions that they may provide banking services to MSBs without undue regulatory and compliance risks.

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Michigan considers change for bridge tolls paid in loonies

The days of currency equality may end soon at toll booths on the Michigan side of the Blue Water Bridge.

The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) said this week it’s considering a “currency parity policy” for its side of the bridge that spans the St. Clair River and connects Port Huron, Mich. with Point Edward.

(www.michigan.gov)

If the proposal moves ahead, it would end a tradition that began several years ago where Michigan toll booths have accepted Canadian currency at par.

Instead, the toll for travellers paying in Canadian currency on the Michigan side of the bridge would be set twice a year, based on the average daily exchange rate over the previous six months.

Based on the current exchange rate, MDOT said the new toll for travellers paying in Canadian currency would be $4 per car, compared to the current charge of $3. Drivers paying in U.S. funds would still pay $3.

The change would also impact tolls paid in Canadian currency for other vehicles, including trucks and buses.

If approved, the change would begin April 1, with the rate reviewed each April and October.

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How Modern Accounting Software Can Save You Both Time and Money in 10 Different Ways?

Whether you run a small business or own a large enterprise with thousands of employees, your accounts departments is the most engaged department throughout the year. Accounting processes keep getting complex with time and evolving taxation procedures keep accountants on their toes. Over 73% of the accountants had pointed out that they always look for new tools and software to automate manual accounting tasks in order to reduce errors and work load.
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Most of the modern accounting software such as quickbooks, netsuite and Odoo to name a few are extremely affordable and offer out-of-the-box accounting capabilities. Out of the three, Odoo is license free and offers the most advanced accounting capabilities to both small and large enterprises.
The priority for most of the enterprises is to save costs but unfortunately due to the lack of understanding that automating accounting processes can control unnecessary expenditures and save money, some enterprises reduce discretionary spending while some impose wage cuts to improve the bottom line.

Let’s understand how using modern accounting software enables enterprises in 10 different ways to save both time and money and turn accounting staff more productive…….

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FRB and NYDFS Take Action Against Foreign Bank Branch for AML Failures

On December 17, 2015, in a joint action, the New York Department of Financial Services (the DFS) and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the FRB) issued a consent order and cease and desist order (collectively, the Orders) against Habib Bank Limited, a foreign bank located in Pakistan (the Bank), and its New York branch (the Branch),1 for failure to comply with anti-money laundering (AML) requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act and its implementing regulations (the BSA). The DFS and FRB allege that during their most recent examination they identified significant breakdowns in the Branch’s risk management and its compliance with the BSA.

The Orders result from a record of alleged non-compliance with the BSA and come nine years after the DFS’ predecessor agency and FRB entered into a written agreement with the Branch designed to correct BSA program weaknesses and deficiencies related to correspondent banking and funds transfer clearing activities. Having found that the Branch had not sufficiently complied with each provision of the 2006 written agreement, the DFS and FRB are now subjecting the Branch to a number of compliance-related requirements. Under the Orders, the Branch must:

  • submit a written plan to enhance oversight of the Branch’s compliance with the BSA/AML requirements, including a number of specific governance improvements, such as more clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities regarding BSA/AML compliance, increased control by the Bank’s board of directors, and measures to track and escalate BSA/AML compliance issues to senior management;
  • retain an independent third party to conduct a comprehensive compliance review of the effectiveness of the Branch’s BSA/AML program;
  • submit a written revised BSA/AML compliance program for the Branch;
  • submit a written enhanced customer due diligence program;
  • submit a written program reasonably designed to ensure timely, accurate, and complete suspicious activity monitoring and reporting;
  • engage an independent third party to conduct a “look-back” review of the Branch’s dollar clearing transaction activity for the six-month period from October 1, 2014 to March 31, 2015 to determine whether recordkeeping and reporting requirements were properly met;
  • refrain from taking any action that would result in an increase in the aggregate dollar value or transaction volume of the Branch’s US dollar clearing activities;
  • refrain from accepting any new foreign correspondent accounts or new customer accounts for US dollar clearing;
  • submit a written plan to manage the growth in the Branch’s US dollar clearing activities;
  • submit written policies and procedures governing the Branch’s personnel in all supervisory and regulatory matters; and
  • submit a plan to enhance the Bank’s compliance with Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations.

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Court Rules Anti-Money Laundering Law Applies to Compliance Officers

A U.S. District Court in Minnesota ruled that compliance officers and other individuals can be held responsible for anti-money laundering control failures under the Banking Secrecy Act, dealing a setback to a former chief compliance officer who was hit with a $1 million fine by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.

The fine by FinCEN against former MoneyGram Chief Compliance Officer Thomas Haider made waves in 2014 as a rare case of a compliance team member being held responsible for control failures.

FinCEN’s action stems from the money transfer company’s $100 million settlement with the U.S. government in 2012, in which MoneyGram admitted to wire fraud and money laundering control violations.

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