The Challenge: The Need to Operationalize Expanded Alert Volume
It is a common problem in BSA departments across the country: As companies grow, the volume of alerts also increases, and it is difficult to increase internal resources to properly work them. Institutions are required by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) to maintain effective, risk-based policies in their Anti-Money Laundering (AML) programs. A lack of adequate staffing to properly sift through alerts can result in missing potentially suspicious activity, which is a violation of the BSA that comes with serious repercussions. Moreover, institutions cannot cap the amount of alerts their AML software produces to fit their staffing resources. FinCEN issued a $185 million civil money penalty against U.S. Bank in 2018 for doing just that.
At Capital Bank, N.A., Senior BSA Analyst, Davreen Dixon, JD, CAMS performs the day-to-day tasks in the BSA department to help the bank detect reportable suspicious activities, validate imports into the Abrigo BAM system, and other activities. Capital Bank operates five branches in the greater Washington, D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland markets, as well as two nation-wide consumer lending divisions. As the bank and its divisions continue to grow, Davreen found herself spending more time reviewing alerts and less time on other, equally important compliance areas such as staff training and working with the BSA Officer to constantly strengthen BSA internal controls. Most institutions think the only resolution to this problem is to hire additional staff, which can be cost-prohibitive. Reaching out to Abrigo, a Case Manager introduced other time-saving options to Kathy Curtis, the Bank’s BSA Officer, to enable Capital Bank to implement process efficiencies while maintaining costs and saving time.