It’s not easy to be stuck in the middle, a position that banks inhabit as they process the financial activities of others. Most transactions passing through their systems are honest, but some are illicit, often involving money laundering. Are banks innocent victims of criminals who exploit their processes or knowing participants in crimes? The case has not been tried, but public sentiment leans toward the latter. Can banks come clean?
While banks are easy targets to blame, the recent leaks of suspicious-activity reports—revealed by BuzzFeed News in September—instead confirmed that they are fulfilling their roles in the fight against international money laundering. Rather, it is the whole system that is on the verge of collapse and needs to be rethought.
It may seem to bankers that they have been unfairly targeted by increasing compliance requirements recently. One directive after another has flowed down the pipe from regulators. But as firms have discovered, building and maintaining a culture of compliance and integrity brings with it many business rewards. What are the five best ways that financial institutions can weave compliance, business integrity and corporate social responsibility into all aspects of their operations?
In the age of specialization, many organizations turn to intermediaries to do business. They take the form of partners, suppliers, distributors, or agents, and many firms can have thousands of “feet on the ground” doing work on their behalf around the globe.
Making Sure that Everyone Plays by the Rules: Harnessing a global-partnerships approach to tackling corruption
As its name suggests, corruption is a contaminating influence on whatever it touches, financial businesses included. That’s why various international parties—business decision-makers, policymakers, regulators, police, journalists, consumers—are seeking collaboration, transparency and partnership as they hash out solutions to the blight of corruption at local and national levels.