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Rolle: Customer service at banks still ‘degraded’ by application of AML/CFT safeguards

The customer service experience at banks is still “too degraded” due in part to the application of anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) safeguards that make opening bank accounts tedious, according to John Rolle, governor of the Central Bank of the Bahamas (CBOB).

Rolle made the claim while speaking at the launch of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists’ (ACAMS) Bahamas Chapter.

He explained that the pressure for regulatory guidance to be tedious persists for institutions, despite some changes to make the process less of a burden for customers.

“We will only arrest this trend through — in addition to all of our other interventions — strengthening competence around the application of AML/CFT safeguards,” Rolle said.

“I expect that we will make more progress in this regard, thanks to AML certifications of this nature.”

According to Rolle, CBOB has provided guidelines to help financial institutions streamline their “know your customer” (KYC) regimes.

“For low-risk customers, a passport is adequate documentation for account opening,” he said.

“In the absence of the passport, a list of other government-issued identity documents are acceptable. Verification of address by proof of a utility bill has given way to establishing proof that the client can be contacted by electronic or other means.

“The Central Bank of The Bahamas has also made it clear that high-risk does not mean that an extra burden should be imposed to identify oneself — rather more due diligence should be exerted around the other dimensions of how a relationship is established and monitored. Also, for low-risk retail prospects, the central bank has gone on record to state that the potential customer does not have to offer proof of employment in order to open a bank account.”

Rolle added that CBOB supports ACAMS training initiatives which will help this country to “make more necessary, qualitative progress in perfecting its national AML/CFT regime”.

Chester Robards

Senior Business Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism
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