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10 Questions to Evaluate Your BSA System

May 30, 2019
Read Time: 0 min

Taking the first step into automating your BSA program can be daunting.  Helping hundreds of institutions through this process has helped our team put together a few questions to help you navigate this journey.

Can you check the box on your BSA software?

1. Am I doing too much manually?

With the increasing expectations of BSA, a highly manual process can fall short. Even some software requires a lot of manual work, which seems to defeat the purpose. Striking a balance between efficiency and effectiveness is key.

2. Is my institution growing?

Growth is often an indicator of success, but it can result in significant new risks or an increased workload. An institution needs a system that will adapt and withstand the changes associated with growth. Take Woodforest National Bank, for example.

3. What were our latest exam results?

Consider your regulator’s feedback. Did he or she say it’s time to automate and/or move toward a more robust system? Regulators often know when it’s “time” and they may expect to see improvements by your next exam.

4. Is our current program risk-based?

Some BSA/AML software vendors assume that a “one-size-fits-all” solution is adequate. We know this is not the case. The ability to set parameters and define subsets of customers allows you to take a risk-based approach to suspicious activity monitoring – something which examiners encourage. 

5. Will I know the “why” behind each alert?

Software is intended to enhance your job, not replace it. BSA/AML requires a human element, so you will always want to know why an alert was created. Plus, examiners will ask!

We can help!


6. Is the system tailored to meet my risk profile?

It seems obvious, right? Why would you use a system with parameters set to a generic risk profile? Any system that does not let you adjust your risk parameters on multiple levels is doing you a disservice. This is a question you will need to ask as part of the discovery process.

7. How will it simplify reporting?

When preparing reports for the board/senior management, you’ll benefit from choosing a system that provides thorough, easily digestible reports. Plus, the ability to prepare regulatory reporting (SARs, CTRs) in the system is a tremendous time saver.

8. What will setup involve?

Implementing a new software doesn’t have to be a burden. By working with your IT and qualified, knowledgeable support staff on the vendor’s side, you’ll feel more confident in the entire process.

9. Was it built by bankers?

As former bankers and regulators, we may be a little biased here. In building BAM+, we built the tool we wish we had when we were bankers! Our team of experts is dedicated to both understanding and addressing your biggest BSA/AML challenges.

10. Do we need a rules-based or a behavior-based system?

Why not both? Combine the best of both worlds to maximize effectiveness and target known patterns of suspicious activities from several angles.

These questions are just a starting point, but they cover some important areas of choosing the right BSA/AML system. Still have questions? Abrigo is here to help! 

Learn why a system should address these 10 things.

Learn More about BAM+

About Abrigo

Abrigo enables U.S. financial institutions to support their communities through technology that fights financial crime, grows loans and deposits, and optimizes risk. Abrigo's platform centralizes the institution's data, creates a digital user experience, ensures compliance, and delivers efficiency for scale and profitable growth.

Make Big Things Happen.