Take two financial institutions and merge them together. What do you get? Essentially, you get an entirely new, significantly larger financial institution. This can present a challenge to the BSA/AML department, which needs to adjust its policies and procedures to accommodate the growth.
That is what happened to Union Bank & Trust, a BAM user since 2006. Union acquired Stellar One in 2013, and the two merged systems in May of 2014. Following the merger, the institution virtually doubled in size. Its assets now total over $8.2 billion.
In 2012, Union upgraded to BAM+, the most recent version of Abrigo’s suspicious activity detection engine. BAM+ is designed to support large financial institutions like Union. It is simple to customize the settings and parameters within BAM+, which helps institutions adapt to change and accommodate large amounts of data. Furthermore, BAM+ can be customized based on an institution’s risk profile without losing its ease of functionality. Here is how BAM+ helped Union accommodate its new size.
When Union doubled in size, so did the amount of alerts they were receiving in BAM+. Initially, they did not have the staff in place to keep up with the volume. However, AML/Investigations Manager Amy Crickenberger and BSA Supervisor Amy Becsi knew what to do. They analyzed and changed their parameters within BAM+ to account for the increased activity and the changes to the bank, which was “pretty time consuming,” Danna said. This time around, Danna’s team needed a solution that was easily customizable to fit their unique needs.
After changing the parameters, Amy and Amy found that their teams had a much more manageable workload. They were also able to put in place more levels of control to support the bank’s recent growth.
In situations like Union’s, BAM+ excels at accommodating the needs of larger financial institutions. The system is flexible enough to let users adjust parameters to accommodate changes to the institution, and the adjustments to the system are tracked for documentation purposes. (For institutions who aren’t sure where to set their parameters, the Abrigo advisory services team can help.)
Even now, the team at Union continues to adjust its scenarios where necessary. They have a team of analysts who work the alerts and periodically make suggestions on how to tweak the parameters. That results in a clearer picture of potentially suspicious activity at Union.
Today, there are two distinct teams within the BSA department at Union – one to focus on alerts/cases/SARs, and one dedicated to CIP/EDD/etc. The workflows within BAM+ allow the teams to simply and successfully work on different tasks. Both teams have similar permissions within BAM+, but Amy appreciates that she can change those permissions to Read Only, for example, to ensure quality and confidentiality during an audit.
Having been a client for nearly a decade, Union has utilized different products from Abrigo. On the fraud side of the bank, they have Enterprise Fraud Case Management (which centralizes fraud prevention efforts), incoming and outgoing ACH fraud scenarios (as an extra layer of protection), and more. Union also has the Enhanced Due Diligence module, which they are using to comply with the new beneficial ownership rule.
The EDD module is just one way our solutions support changes in the industry. In fact, we continue to build and add on functionality to BAM+ that is specifically targeted to larger institutions, based on input from customers like Amy and Amy.
Since the merger, Union has made significant progress utilizing the tools from Abrigo. Like with all of our customers, our goal is to continue to support Union throughout changes – both internal (within the institution) and external (regulatory). We strive to provide services and solutions that accommodate our clients’ unique needs. In the case of Union, the institution has grown, and so has their capability to succeed with BAM+.