Bank Regulation

Asian Banks Want Regulators To Allow More FinTech Solutions


As financial institutions grapple with compliance costs, a finance industry organization in Asia wants regulators to allow new technologies that could help them fight money laundering. For example, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA) would like to see more use of know your client (KYC) checks to help reduce costs, Reuters reported.

“FinTech solutions – facial recognition, for example – hold out great hope for the industry, but haven’t been embraced as quickly as some might like by regulators around the world,” said Mark Austen, the association’s chief executive.

Even so, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said in 2017 that they were looking into whether KYC utilities should be put into place. Yet that process won’t happen quickly, with questions as to who would be liable if data is incorrect.

The news comes as the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) had formally agreed to a record fine of A$700 million ($5.33 million) in hopes of bringing its current money laundering scandal to an end. The fine marks the largest ever handed out in Australian corporate history, nearly doubling the amount the CBA had thought it would be paying for the infractions.

It was the second major case new CEO Matt Comyn settled with regulators in a month, following an admission of rate manipulation. The bank specifically copped to disobeying money laundering rules and terror financing law – not one, not twice, but 53,750 times.

Suspicious transactions were repeatedly not reported and monitoring processes failed, it said. “The money laundered through the CBA accounts included the proceeds of drug and firearms importation and distribution syndicates — predominantly involving methamphetamine,” the court document said.

The high fine was still something of a bullet dodged, since each individual breaking of the law could have been fined at least A$21 million each, exposing CBA to fines running into the billions of dollars.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.