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When the pandemic forced people to
work from home, predictions were that productivity would fall and financial
institutions would be desperate to get staff back at their desks as soon as
But that didn’t
happen, in fact, some are so keen to take advantage of the success ‘working
from home’ has been that they’re already letting office space go.
announced plans to cut office space by 20% by the end of the year while, and JPMorgan Chase,
recently stated that the trend for remote working will “significantly reduce
our need for real estate” saying that for every 100 employees the bank may now only
need seats for 60 on average.
And it is not just employers that are
pushing for hybrid working to become the norm.
According to a recent survey by the World Economic Forum, two-thirds
of US citizens want to work flexibly when the COVID-19 pandemic is over and
almost a third would be prepared to quit their job if their boss made them go
back to the office full time.
And while a more flexible set up may be
the preferred option for financial institutions and their staff alike, there
are practical issues to consider when it comes to switching to a remote working
For example, to onboard new customers,
financial institutions are required to run robust customer due diligence including
identification, verification and screening for OFAC sanctions and PEPs to ensure they are
meeting their BSA/AML obligations. They are also required to keep a secure
record of these checks and monitor them regularly for any changes.
However, due to the manual ID checks many
US financial institutions still rely on, and office-based legacy systems that
process the results, running and recording these checks remotely is not always possible.
This puts them in a very difficult position - force staff to come into the
office simply to onboard customers, or risk non-compliance?
Fortunately, this is a choice that
financial institutions do not have to make. Online Customer Identification
Programs offer a secure way of onboarding clients remotely, enabling financial institutions
to verify new clients, screen for OFAC and PEPs
and monitor all checks on an ongoing basis, even in a hybrid working environment.
These platforms secure use cloud-based
technology to enable staff to access the systems they need to check customers
from home, either via their desktop, cell phone or tablet.
Some also use advanced facial recognition
technology for an additional level of accuracy, which is particularly important
when working in a remote environment, as John Dobson, CEO at AML experts SmartSearch
“Our TripleCheck solution runs compliance checks on three levels to
ensure no stone is left unturned. By combining our award-winning AML checks,
with the latest facial recognition techniques and digital fraud checks, we have
created a robust and reliable three-level AML Digital Identity solution that
can not only replace a financial institution’s entire Customer Identification
Programme (CIP) but can also be accessed remotely.
“It uses OCR and
biometrics to perform an algorithmic check on photo identity documents and then
uses liveness detection, via a customer selfie liveness video, to compare the
‘real person’ with the document provided for an extra level of verification. We
then combine the initial check and the facial recognition result with
information such as cell numbers, email addresses and IP addresses to deliver a
risk score allowing users to investigate the individual further if a high risk
has been identified.”
John says that SmartSearch is always looking for ways to improve its
service, and when TripleCheck was first launched, it was just part of the
firm’s ongoing development, but that as the events of the last 18 months have
unfolded, it has proved to be an absolutely vital solution for financial institutions
as they grapple with working in a remote environment.
“This highly advanced piece of technology makes customer
verification quicker, easier and more reliable than ever, giving all our
clients peace of mind that they’re meeting all their BSA/AML requirements.
“But more important than that, it can be accessed anytime,
anywhere – from your desktop, cell phone or tablet, from home, from the office
or with a client - with results delivered in seconds.
“As we start to move into a new normal, it is clear that we will
not be returning to the office-based culture we had before. Many people are
going to be working remotely on a permanent basis, which means they are going
to need an AML platform that is flexible and secure enough to work effectively
“TripleCheck offers that solution. It can replace your entire CIP,
running checks, monitoring clients, and ensuring you remain compliant, allowing
you to concentrate on navigating this new post-pandemic world."