Supervisor takes action against bank for violating money laundering law

Volksbank, the parent company of SNS, ASN Bank and Regiobank, has been investigated by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) for violating the Money Laundering Act. According to DNB, de Volksbank’s current policy is not in line with the Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Act (Wwft).

The Volksbank made mistakes in its money laundering policy

Every bank must comply with a wide range of security measures. This also includes the responsibility to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Banks must therefore keep a strict customer register. You must also investigate suspicious activity and then take action.

According to the DNB regulatory authority, de Volksbank does not comply with these measures. De Volksbank reports this itself in its semi-annual report. Despite the additional funds, the state-owned bank was not thorough enough in preventing money laundering. The bank has been instructed to improve the systematic integrity risk analysis by April 1, 2024 at the latest.

In addition, the DNB has initiated proceedings to impose a fine. This has also happened in the past with banks such as ING and ABN Amro. Both had to pay hundreds of millions of euros. Criminal proceedings are currently underway against Rabobank, also in the Netherlands.

How a nationalized bank goes wrong

It is unusual for a fully nationalized bank to commit such an offence. De Volksbank, formerly SNS Bank, has been fully managed by the state since the 2008 financial crisis. This was done to avoid bankruptcy and set things in order for an independent reboot.

Nevertheless, de Volksbank made mistakes in its money laundering prevention policy that drew the attention of the DNB. The Volksbank is administered by the state, but the board of directors is not. The bank acts as an independent body without much interference. Minister Kaag announced this recently decide on the sale of the bank before the end of this year. However, this will have to wait until the Money Laundering Directive is amended.

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