EBA briefs on due diligence measures on asylum seekers from high risk countries

The European Banking Authority (EBA) published today its Opinion setting out measures credit and financial institutions can take to comply with EU Anti- Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) requirements when providing asylum seekers from higher-risk jurisdictions with access to basic financial products and services.

In this Opinion, the EBA highlights that efforts to provide asylum seekers with access to financial products and services are both important and necessary and should go hand in hand with proportionate and effective AML/CFT control. In most cases, money laundering and terrorist financing (ML/TF) risks – including those associated with weaker forms of customer identification- can be managed effectively by offering a more limited range of services or setting up stricter internal controls, which will facilitate early intervention in the event of suspicion.

The scale of the current migrant movement to the EU, the level of ML/TF risk associated with the countries or territories of origin of some asylum seekers, as well as concerns over the reliability and robustness of some asylum seekers’ identity documentation, create unique challenges for Member States and their credit and financial institutions. At the same time, access to basic financial products and services is not only a pre-requisite for participating fully in economic and social life, it is also central to the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. Lack of access to financial products can drive financial transactions underground, making the detection and reporting of suspicious transactions more difficult.

The Opinion was issued following a request by the EBA Banking Stakeholders Group (BSG) and is addressed to EU Competent Authorities. The EBA statement and related information is available here.

Lavanya Rathnam

Lavanya Rathnam is an experienced technology, finance, and compliance writer. She combines her keen understanding of regulatory frameworks and industry best practices with exemplary writing skills to communicate complex concepts of Governance, Risk, and Compliance (GRC) in clear and accessible language. Lavanya specializes in creating informative and engaging content that educates and empowers readers to make informed decisions. She also works with different companies in the Web 3.0, blockchain, fintech, and EV industries to assess their products’ compliance with evolving regulations and standards.

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