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

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

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

Goldman Sachs’ Leissner to Take Fall For Bank?

Is Goldman Sachs in trouble in the tropics? One of its top executives, Tim Leissner, the Singapore-based chairman of Goldman’s Southeast Asia operations, remains under investigation by the FBI for his connections to embattled Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. Razak has come under fire from the Malaysian government regarding $681 million in funds that were mysteriously transferred to his personal bank account by the Saudi Arabian government.

In addition, Leissner is being investigated for his role in striking deals worth $6.5 billion for his employer with the Malaysian financial fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), owned by Razak, for which Goldman Sachs earned an almost $600 million commission, amounting to 9.1 percent of the money raised. The average commission for an investment bank is about five percent, or less.

Leissner, 45, who was married to model and fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons in 2013 (Simmons is the former wife of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons), reportedly was considered one of the financial firm’s ‘Golden Boys’. . . Click here to read the rest of this story on Medium.com.

A place for your gold or a mini $ laundromat? – Medium

5 ways to identify suspicious activity with safe deposit boxes

Swiss banks are synonymous with anonymity. But the threats of money laundering and terrorist financing are enough to force some banking changes — particularly when it comes to safe deposit boxes.

Recently, India and Switzerland have been working closely together to identify Indians who have potentially been stashing illicit money in Swiss safe deposit boxes. Switzerland has already disclosed account information at the request of the Indian government, an action that would not have taken place 20 years ago. But the Swiss government also issued assurances that its safe deposit box regulations are sufficient to deal with increased money laundering risks at this time.

Just how popular are safe deposit boxes today? Click here to read the rest of this story. . .

Global warming heats up risk management

When we think of risk management within a financial institution, we usually associate it with the operational risks related to fraud, money laundering, damage to reputation, etc. But an interesting article recently reminded me that risk presents itself in many forms…including ones that banks must have the foresight to control, such as mitigating the impact of global warming.

A recent report by Canada’s Shareholder Association for Research & Education (SHARE) suggests that banks need to establish a climate change strategy that allows for them to recalibrate risk management quickly as the earth’s surface temperature rises. Why is this important? Because banks are vulnerable to the economic, social and political impacts that are caused by global warming.

For example, financial institutions are usually heavily invested in energy sector, including fossil fuels. As global warming increases, fossil fuels become a less-viable energy resource – increasing the bank’s exposure to risk in carbon-related assets.

Climatic change can also affect a financial insitution’s real estate investments, sometimes in very surprising ways. Warmer temperatures lead to an increase in the number of damaging storms, and while today’s building codes require developments to use materials made to withstand wind, they are usually less resilient to flooding. As temperatures rise, banks need to take into account the changing value of assets located in exposed areas, particularly those along coastlines and other waterways. This may cause a financial institution to proactively alter the geographic location of its asset portfolio to mitigate risk.

According to the World Economic Forum, climate change is a major long-term threat to investment and economic security. In fact, industry observers note that if the world’s largest asset owners (including pension funds and insurance companies) don’t change their risk strategies to correct the imbalance between high and low carbon investments, it could precipate another global financial crisis similar to the one in 2008.

With so many potential risks, including those that come from unexpected natural causes such as global warming, banking institutions today are forced to rely even more heavily on technological advancements to help them navigate the financial waters. It’s a brave – and warmer – new world in the development of financial risk management strategies.