Greece’s Eurobank Detects Money Laundering Attempts Across Bank with FICO Solution

Eurobank, one of the four Greek systemic banks, has responded to new European regulations by broadening its use of FICO compliance solutions to cover all stages of the customer journey, across various channels. The bank now performs real-time AML (anti-money laundering) and KYC (Know Your Customer) checks, with automation resulting in substantial efficiency improvements. For its achievements, Eurobank has won the 2021 FICO® Decisions Award for Regulatory Compliance.

“Our roadmap for regulatory compliance with the FICO Siron solution meets existing regulatory requirements and will enable us to rapidly adapt to new regulations,” said Marina Skalistiri, head of compliance risk assessment planning and reporting at Eurobank Greece. “This is a first-class result of our project.”

New Regulatory Requirements

Eurobank S.A., part of the Eurobank Group that operates in six countries, has used FICO® Siron® Anti-Financial Crime Solutions for many years. New regulatory requirements for European directives AML4D & 5D, combined with the rise in adoption of remote channels by customers, dictated the need for AML/KYC checks in real-time processes, such as digital onboarding. However, more alerts across the customer journey would also mean an increase in false positives. A thorough fine-tuning process would be needed to reach a manageable level of alerts.

Working with FICO and its partner Printec, Eurobank took this opportunity to establish more comprehensive KYC and AML processes as well as mitigate risks related with correspondent banking.

“Correspondent banking relationships increase money laundering and terrorist financing risks,” said Skalistiri. “The domestic bank carrying out the transaction has to rely on the foreign bank to identify the customer, determine the real owners, and monitor such transactions for risks. While the foreign bank has AML compliance systems built for its local country of operation, it may not capture all of the information and risks needed by the local regulatory system. It is easy to see how things can become very complex.”

FICO® Siron® Anti-Financial Crime Solutions can address these challenges by monitoring high-risk, unusual or suspicious activity and changes in behaviour. It also performs automated identification and monitoring of all engaged customers/counterparties in a transaction and updates their profiles accordingly.

The bank’s improvements in AML and KYC include:

  • Centralizing transaction monitoring decision making to achieve more efficient case management. “We have created a centralised centre of excellence for alert and case management which consists of a team of specialists with a thorough understanding of AML risks, thus reducing the burden of false alerts on branches” said Skalistiri.
  • Enriching transaction monitoring system parameterization for more comprehensive and focused alerting. This allowed for increased coverage of AML typologies by enhancing the risk criteria that are monitored under the risk-based approach.
  • Improving KYC processes through real-time screening and consolidation of alert distribution.
  • Making FICO Siron the automated system for monitoring suspicious activity in transactions related to correspondent banking services.
  • Deciding to use FICO Siron solutions to mitigate risk coming from bribery and corruption.

Further enhancements are planned for 2021.

“By using more FICO Siron capabilities, we now have a better understanding of client structure and implied risk, better mitigation of risks and the ability to cover regulatory requirements in a more comprehensive and efficient manner,” said Skalistiri. “We have seen significant improvement in the quality of alerts, by eliminating repetitive simple alerts and freeing staff to investigate more complicated transactions. The consolidation of our AML systems has led to increased productivity and automation has reduced the risk of human error.”

“Meeting the rapid change of regulatory requirements for preventing terrorism and other financial crimes is a challenge for all banks,” said Nikhil Behl, chief marketing officer at FICO. “Eurobank Greece built on a solid foundation by adding new capabilities in our compliance system. This is an excellent example of how banks can do more to fight financial crime.”

“Regulatory compliance is a constantly evolving and challenging area for banks,” said Marcel Le Gouais, managing editor at Credit Strategy. “This project demonstrated the power of being able to improve efficiency through centralization. It also showed the strength of pattern recognition enabled by the advanced analytics that Eurobank deployed. The judges were really impressed with the banks’ ability to optimize their AML process.”