Recently, a number of neighborhood banks have made significant investments in assessing the integrity concerns that the bank faces. They have also installed integrity frameworks, hired personnel, and trained IT systems. Eblein Frangie, CEO of Finabank, recently stated at the Anti-Money Symposium Laundering and Compliance, organized by the Center for Democracy and Justice, “They have also attracted additional resources to implement the framework and ensure that the measures that have been implemented are also adhered to, so compliance and enforcement mechanisms.” Frangie claims that banks are aware of the difficulties facing the government and its agencies. “For this reason, in 2019, while I served as the chairman of the Surinamese Bankers Association (SBV), we took the initiative to reinforce our gatekeeper function, to make it more inclusive and risk-based. On the recommendation of the Dutch Banking Association (NVB), we employed Mr. Joost Melis. Additionally, he helped the NVB make the sector’s compliance program stronger. When setting up the program, we decided on a’small’,’medium’, and ‘big’ bank for efficiency reasons. The objective was to create a one-level compliance program for the banking industry in Suriname. For an inclusive program, the input of three different types of banks, each with a unique profile, was necessary. The program had to comply with regional FATCA requirements as well as local laws and regulations.
The one-level compliance framework has now been completed and has been transferred by Melis to the Surinamese Bankers’ Association. In the meantime, a team of compliance specialists from the banks is working to fully coordinate the ‘own bank’ compliance program.”
Frangie indicated that Finabank is also working with the Public Prosecution Service (OM) to get to digital, to exchange information more efficiently and securely. “Because both we and the Public Prosecution Service recognize that we can only tackle financial crime better and more effectively by working together more efficiently and intensively.” Frangie emphasized that in the context of integrity risks, not only money laundering linked to drug trafficking and terrorist financing should be considered, but also risks such as corruption, tax evasion, human trafficking and fraud, for example by using hard copy documents with the consequence forgeries, falsely preparing documents for committing criminal offenses such as fraud. Conflicts of interest, terrorist financing and cyber crime are also included.
According to Frangie, these risks have become more material in recent times. The banks have taken stringent measures to combat financial crime, some of which are:
– Source of income must be made transparent with substantiation by means of documents/documents.
– The origin of the assets and the origin of the funds to be deposited must be made transparent with substantiation by means of documents.
– The UBO (Ultimate Benificiary Owner) of entities must be visible, de-stimulating cash transactions that are susceptible to criminal offenses.
“The banks have often not been thanked for taking these stringent measures, but they have been necessary measures to ensure a sound financial system and to retain and attract new correspondent banks,” says Frangie.