What role do banks play in the fight against money laundering

4 min Reading time

Today, banks play a key role in the detection of financial fraud. After all, financial institutions do not want to facilitate money laundering or contribute indirectly to financing terrorism. That is why the fight against such forms of crime is at the top of the list of priorities. But what efforts are the banks making in this fight?


Did you know that the banks reported a staggering 17,678 suspicious transactions to the Financial Intelligence Processing Unit last year? In this way, they contributed to the creation of 55% of the money laundering cases forwarded to the judiciary. This is only possible through the meticulous screening of new customers and the continuous monitoring of financial transactions.

Investments in personnel


Moreover, over 60% of the banks are planning additional investments to hire extra personnel to intensify this battle, and virtually all financial institutions are organizing specialized training. In 2019, 89% of all bank employees in Belgium had participated in at least one specific AML (Anti-Money Laundering) training.

Investments in infrastructure


Investments in infrastructure are also substantial. Alongside the resources allocated for personnel, more than 93 million euros were invested in AML and compliance departments in 2019 to automate onboarding, screenings, and transaction monitoring. Currently, 95% of screening processes are automated.

Enhanced collaboration through a collaborative platform

However, the financial sector cannot wage this battle alone. That's why, during a parliamentary hearing on the FinCen Files in November 2020, Febelfin launched a call for more collaboration between private and public stakeholders. And with results: on June 18, 2021, the AML collaboration platform officially commenced.

What are the new trends according to the anti-money laundering unit? What new developments do the banks see? What new methods are criminal organizations using? In which countries are new shell companies being established? Thanks to the new collaboration platform, Assuralia, CFI, Febelfin, FSMA, NBB, and the government will be able to map out the answers and respond more promptly.

"Just as officers on patrol have partners to track down criminals, banks also need partners in the battle against financial crime. And this platform aligns perfectly with this desire of the sector. We look forward to working together with stakeholders to give a new dimension to the fight against money laundering."
Karel Baert, CEO Febelfin

You can read about the efforts that banks make as gatekeepers in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing in the storytelling piece titled 'Banks: Gatekeepers in the Fight Against Money Laundering'.