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Dutch banking leaders believe transaction monitoring ‘battle group’ is set to revolutionize AML sector

By Elizabeth Hearst

HOLLAND’S cutting edge Transaction Monitoring Netherlands (TMNL) will “significantly enhance effectiveness and quality of transaction monitoring,” it has been claimed by bank leaders.

Five major Dutch banks (ABN AMRO, ING, Rabobank, Triodos Bank and de Volksbank) in July pledged to establish TMNL to fight against dirty money. The new initiative, which one commentator has dubbed a ‘battle group,’ will focus on “identifying unusual patterns in payments traffic that individual banks cannot identify”. 

Three anti-money laundering experts who discussed the plans in a webinar Wednesday said TMNL is set to revolutionise how information is shared between the participating banks.

Mark Hanhart, Global Head of AML and sanctions at ABN AMRO, Heléne Erftemeijer KYC Lead at ING and Program Lead of TMNL at the Dutch Banking Association, Jeroen Rijpkema said TMNL was enabling banking authorities to “identify previously unknown connections between clients and money flows”. 

Erftemeijer said the programme would “enhance the full AML value chain”, as it would enable banks to “detect unusual behaviour” in a variety of institutions. Shetold the ACAMs webinar that criminals rarely clean their money through a “single washing machine”. 

The trio spoke about the challenges posed to transaction monitoring and sharing networks and said that it was crucial for the sharing of data to be done within the realms of data protection. 

Hanhart emphasised the importance of “public-private partnerships” in discussing their relationship with law enforcement and said these relationships provided an “enhanced platform” to tackle money laundering. He spoke about the implementation of a new FinCEN alliance currently under development in the Netherlands.

He spoke animatedly about how financial institutions should act as “societal gatekeepers” and added that Theresa May spoke previously how it was their responsibility to “dare to share”. 

Under current Dutch legislation, outsourcing of transaction data is not permitted. However, Rijpkema and the team at TMNL hope that this will be rectified with legislative changes in the coming months and added that it was “very energizing” to observe how Dutch finance and justice Ministers supported TMNL. 

Dutch authorities estimate that €16 Billion is laundered in the country each year, and believe that criminals “frequently abuse multiple banks” to conceal the origin of their funds. In July, Chris Buijink, President of the Dutch Banking Association (NVB) said that “the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism is a top priority in the banking sector”. He added that “this cooperation will have positive consequences throughout the chain from detection to prosecution. TMNL is an essential collective step that is a world first”. 

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