Can Comic Books Boost Compliance And AML Efforts?

Comic books (along with their more sophisticated cousins, graphic novels) are treated not only as literature these days by fans and many scholars, but they also have a firm place in U.S. culture, in that sweet spot where “low” and “high” art meet. As well, the form has a long history of transmitting national values and providing cultural, political and even economic education — one need only dig deep into the comic scene during World War II to understand that.

Now comes a comic book contribution to one of the most vexing and vital issues of modern payments and commerce — fraud prevention and ID compliance. Trulioo, which sells identity verification services, said on Tuesday (Dec. 18) that is has released a free comic and coloring book entitled “The Adventures of ID Man and Compliance Kid.”

The product was designed for adults and children, Trulioo said.

It described the story featured in the comic as the tale of “how one compliance officer, with the help of his daughter, takes on the nefarious Moneybags and his henchmen. Under the guise of ID Man and his sidekick, The Compliance Kid, the duo work together to fight crime and stamp out money laundering.” The release comes amid increasing attention on issues involving ID, authentication and “know your customer” tactics and strategies — and as observers anticipate even more focus in 2019 on issues related to online security and privacy and AML efforts.

Trulioo said it created two digital versions of the story: a coloring book that can be printed out and a full-color digital version “perfect for online viewing.”

“Compliance is a complex topic,” said Stephen Ufford, CEO and founder of Trulioo. “Explaining the job and responsibilities of a compliance professional is extremely daunting – especially to children – so we did our best to provide some rudimentary information through our superhero characters, ID Man and Compliance Kid. We hope this comic book helps illustrate the importance of regulations and compliance professionals around the globe.”

Indeed, education in general is important to increased online security, privacy and fraud prevention efforts. Consumer expectations about how their digital and other data is handled, protected and used by businesses and organizations is gaining more of the spotlight, as merchants and their customers put more thought into the balance between security and convenience.

And compliance is gaining a higher profile, a trend that will almost certainly continue into the new year and beyond. One reason? Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, which, of course, is having a global impact. As recently reported by PYMNTS, compliance issues tied to the GDPR are seen as a major hurdle for M&A deals, according to survey findings. Fifty-five percent of respondents cited the compliance and data protection implemented by target companies as a main reason why a transaction does not happen, while 66 percent believe the regulation will lead to increased scrutiny of the data protection policies and systems, which can delay the entire process.

Compliance, too, could become a juicer in the near future. That’s in part because several federal agencies recently have come out — together — in support of banks embracing innovation in their compliance efforts. Those agencies include the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) and the National Credit Union Administration. The idea is to foster strength in the battle against “illicit financial activity” as banks satisfy various mandates tied to anti-money laundering (AML) initiatives and the Bank Secrecy Act.

Will comic books make compliance efforts seem as heroic as, say, the exploits of John Basilone, a U.S. Marine who won the Medal of Honor for his actions on Guadalcanal in 1942, and whose story was told in comic books (along with other media) in order to boost morale and sell war bonds? That’s a stretch, of course. But in today’s digital economy, one cannot argue against the importance of compliance, not when consumers and businesses are at daily risk of losing funds (among other things) from the work of money launderers and other criminals. History produces heroes that are suited for the times, and perhaps it’s fitting that compliance now has its own comic book treatment.