Banks, Business, Estonia, Financial Services

International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Friday, 14.08.2020, 16:57

Estonian finmin: Fight against money laundering has started impeding entrepreneurship

BC, Tallinn, 09.01.2020.Print version
Estonian Finance Minister Martin Helme said companies are complaining that, by making anti-money laundering rules stricter, banks have started to impede business, the news portal of public broadcaster ERR reports.

"One can quite clearly see that there is also overreaction on the part of the banks, that long-term customers are no longer wanted. The banks no longer want to carry out certain transfers, we are especially talking about cross-border transfers here, and this has become a real concern for the Estonian business environment by now," Helme told ERR after meeting with bank directors.

According to the minister, banks are expected to make their risk recognition and risk assessment mechanisms smarter. "However, banks should not be approaching this with the attitude that we will throw customers overboard just in case or shut down accounts just in case," Helme added.

Head of the Estonian Banking Association Erki Kilu said that regulations have tightened in the last few years, and banks are now expected to know the ins and outs of their customers, their partners, final beneficiaries and sanctioned individuals. Zero tolerance applies and penalties for mistakes have become stricter. Due to the conservatism of banks, some customers have not passed their background checks.

"Generally speaking, there have been specific reasons behind these closures. Of course, if the customer feels they have been wronged, they can go to the bank and it can be reviewed," Kilu said. He added that if enough complaints are collected, they can be summarized and a message can be forwarded to the minister.

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