4 process tactics banks should employ today — Medium

Banks should embrace process improvements now in order to improve the bottom line and pave a smooth road to the future

As the financial industry continues to evolve in the face of rapid technology advances and ever-changing compliance regulations, banks today are faced with the challenge of constantly retooling internal processes or risk falling behind more enlightened competitors. Rather than fear the dynamics of change, however, banks should lean into it and embrace process improvements and reengineering as ways to improve the bottom line. By taking a deep look into your bank’s programs and processes, you’ll likely find several opportunities where simple process changes can improve efficiencies across the board.

In fact, here are four areas of focus where you can easily start the process:

1) Know your high-risk customers

One of the most frequently asked question by regulators is how many high-risk customers do you have? If you are not able to answer that question, it’s time to make improvements. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: 4 process tactics banks should employ today — Medium

Are you ready to Lean? — Medium

Regardless of industry, today’s consumer-centric world requires organizations to challenge the status quo and move into a new way of looking at how to better deliver products and services

A business can only go so far in its race to bottom-line pricing; the key is to find differentiators that deliver increased customer value. There’s no better way to achieve this than through reengineering and optimizing your organization’s business practices.

Continuous process improvement, sometimes referred to as Lean Six Sigma and Design for Six Sigma, offers an ongoing improvement program that can define how an organization embraces change. The principles of Lean were first applied to automotive manufacturing in the U.S., but refined by the Japanese after World War II. Toyota Motor Company recognized that workers had much more to offer than just muscle, and initially experimented with Quality Circles. Eventually, this was distilled into principles that improved process and quality control to increase productivity.

Today, continuous improvement principles are at the heart of organizations across the economic strata. In the financial services industry, we successfully introduced Kaizen principles. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: Are you ready to Lean? — Medium

Do financial crimes pay off? — Medium

How much do you really know about your neighbor?

In the course of analyzing the ins and outs of financial crimes for the world’s banks, I’ve studied enough cases of money laundering to enable me to do it should I ever decide to become a criminal. In fact, what I’ve learned is that it pays to be a criminal. Rarely does the restitution in finance-related legal decisions match the amount of money originally stolen. And depending on the type of person you were before your crime spree, your punishment could be just a short vacation in a crime camp as opposed to an extended stay in prison. Regardless, the rest of your stolen loot is waiting for you upon your exit so you can go legit and eventually become a pillar of your community.

Case in point: the most famous financial criminal of all time, Frank Abagnale. He is now a recognized expert in the fight against financial fraud, has worked for the FBI and became a bestselling author by telling his story in a book called, Catch Me if You Can. You probably know Abagnale better as Leo DiCaprio’s main character in the Steven Spielberg-directed film adaptation of his book, which presented Abagnale’s style of financial fraud as a glamorous, cash-filled party. As with his crimes, he issued a laissez faire statement in response to questions raised by the press regarding the validity of the ‘stories’ in the book. . .

Click here to read the rest of this story: Do financial crimes pay off? — Medium

Why Satoshi Nakamoto doesn’t matter — Medium

All eyes should be on the emerging technology’s disruption of the banking technology instead of finding the Bitcoin founder

The financial industry is increasingly shadowed by the image of Satoshi Nakamoto; the supposedly reclusive Bitcoin digital currency inventor who has been publicly outed by the press on numerous occasions, only to find once the headlines have ceased that the person in question was not Satoshi Nakamoto. The latest Nakamoto? Australian Craig Wright claimed to be the Bitcoin founder last year, but his claims were largely rebuffed by the Bitcoin community and by the press. Now he is back and begging the world to believe he created Bitcoin, claiming he has ‘extraordinary proof’ to back up his claims.

I say, who cares? The founder of Bitcoin doesn’t matter in the greater scheme of the financial world. What really matters is Bitcoin’s disruption of a technology resistant financial industry, which is taking place on a scale that goes beyond just digital currency.

In fact, 60 Minutes ran a groundbreaking story about fintech’s disruption of the financial arena recently and it pointed out something key to the fintech debate — the banks, by and large, are not mapping to the trends and changes happening in just about every industry that are being caused, not by technology, but by banking customers’ adoption of technology into their everyday lives. One of the fintech startups featured in the story, Stripe, was founded by a couple of millennials from Ireland. Their view of the world is focused on the internet-driven society they were raised in, but is also surprisingly customer focused. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: Why Satoshi Nakamoto doesn’t matter — Medium

5 things drug cartels love about Hong Kong — Medium

The Big Buddha, the nightlife and other reasons drug kings love to stash cash in The Pearl of the Orient

Latin American drug cartels have apparently infiltrated Hong Kong with cocaine and methamphetamine, and as a result, new reports of money laundering are starting to leak out of the Asian peninsula. According to media covering this emerging story, three Columbian individuals based in Guangzhou, China have been accused of laundering more than five billion dollars for drug cartels based in Mexico and Colombia. They operate in Hong Kong, using bank accounts based there and in mainland China.

Investigations by the South China Morning Post (SCMP) show that the infamous Mexican Sinaloa cartel, run by the equally infamous El Chapo, has established a criminal and legitimate corporate presence in Hong Kong. In addition to trafficking cocaine and meth to the city, the SCMP says the “group also ran front companies and bank accounts which it used to launder drug funds, according to official Mexican documents and interviews with law enforcement sources.”

A violent Sinaloa spin-off, the Jalisco New Generation cartel, is quickly making inroads in Hong Kong too. . .  Click here to read the rest of this story: 5 things drug cartels love about Hong Kong — Medium

Money launderers get the gangster treatment — Medium

Canadian authorities creative in shutting down financial crimes

A few weeks ago, I warned readers about the money laundering avalanche that could be headed straight for our northern neighbors, Canada. In an effort to stave off this avalanche, the Canadian government has taken impressive proactive steps as of late. In the first example, we see an unlikely pairing of agencies to curb money laundering in casinos; in the second, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (FINTRAC) takes on the heavy role of bringing the Canadian real estate market up to speed on anti-money laundering regulations and compliance.

An unlikely pair

When you think about anti-money laundering efforts in casinos you probably don’t assume that a gang unit will come to the rescue, but that’s exactly what is happening today in British Columbia. The newly formedJoint Illegal Investigation Team, which will be housed within the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit (CFSEU-BC), combines an anti-gang agency with the Ministry of Finance’s Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. As a team, its mission is to investigate groups that use gambling facilities to legalize financial proceeds from criminal activity.

The task force creation is a key part of Phase 3 of the BC government’s anti-money laundering strategy, which launched in 2011. This action seems overdue considering that money laundering activity in casinos is reaching a boiling point. One chart shared by the task force indicated that the total amount of suspicious cash transactions since April of last year totaled $119.1 million. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: Money launderers get the gangster treatment — Medium

A chink in the prince’s armor? — Medium

Has Erik Prince fallen from a trusted provider to the U.S. government to a known bad actor?

Erik Prince’s real life reads like fiction. Son of a wealthy industrialist, he’s been a White House intern, attended the prestigious Naval Academy, is a former Navy Seal, founder and former chairman of the defunct Blackwater USA, current chairman of Frontier Services Group…and now, an accused money launderer? According to a piece published in The Intercept, Prince is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies for attempting to broker military services to foreign governments and possible money laundering.

How did an intelligent, wealthy, well-educated and well-connected Prince fall so far out of favor? After forming Blackwater’s notorious mercenary services organization in 1997, Prince either served as the American society’s hero or villain, depending upon which side of the political aisle one was standing on. The Republican Party embraced Blackwater, while the Democrats saw legal and moral issues; regardless, in 2010 the Obama administration still funded Blackwater to the tune of $220 million for State Department and CIA support. All told, the company received over two billion dollars in government security contracts between 1997–2010.

Prince resigned as Blackwater’s chairman in 2009 after he was exposed in the press as an alleged CIA asset by former CIA director Leon Panetta. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: A chink in the prince’s armor? — Medium

Where Money Laundering Hides in America — Medium

The soft underbelly of rural America provides perfect hiding places for even the most unusual schemers

If you want to find bison roaming freely on the prairie or long, dusty roads where the vistas stretch for empty miles, Oklahoma is where you want to be. Until recently, this sparsely populated landscape is also where you could have found a lucrative horse ranch that two leaders of Los Zetas, a ruthless Mexican drug cartel, used to launder more than $22 million.

Money laundering in America isn’t just happening in the more obvious places such as Atlantic City’s gambling district or Manhattan’s high-priced real estate market. Thieves are getting craftier…and thinking outside of the box when it comes to choosing a home base for illegal operations.

One wonders why federal authorities didn’t figure out in quicker fashion that the Oklahoma horse ranch was shady, since a number of the racing horses had vanity names such as “Number One Cartel” and “Morning Cartel.” But eventually, justice was served. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: Where Money Laundering Hides in America — Medium

Is a money laundering avalanche about to smack Canada? — Medium

If you believe some of today’s headlines, the answer is yes

According to a report issued by Transparency International, Canada is one of the least corrupt countries in the world. And, thanks to its FINTRAC unit, it has long been rumored to be one of the toughest enforcers of money laundering regulations at the government level unit. However, reports are now emerging in its media outlets about new money laundering opportunities and threats in Canada — proof that no country is truly immune to the evils of financial fraud. My take? Since these are just threats and not real cases, I think they may be indicators of Canada’s strength, rather than weakness.

I fear too many North American readers of news stories today only catch the headlines and fail to digest the actual content. They see a headline that says liquor stores, casinos or real estate companies in Canada could fall victim to money laundering schemes, and walk away from the article thinking that the country has somehow lost its tough grip on its regulations. In actuality, nothing could be farther from the truth.

Unlike most government operations, FINTRAC is very proactive. Here are some examples. . . Click here to read the rest of this story: Is a money laundering avalanche about to smack Canada? — Medium







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