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Major Banks Join Effort to Manage KYC Compliance


July 22 - Six additional global banks have signed up to jointly develop a Know Your Customer (KYC) Registry, a centralized repository that maintains a standardized set of information about banks required for due diligence processes.

The initiative was developed by SWIFT, a member-owned cooperative that provides the communications platform, products and services to connect more than 10,000 financial institutions and corporations in 212 countries and territories.

Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Erste Group Bank AG, HSBC, ING and Raiffeisen Bank International AG are the latest banks to sign up to the KYC initiative, bringing the total number of participating banks to 12. These institutions join Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Commerzbank, J.P.Morgan, Societe Generale and Standard Chartered, whose participation in the KYC initiative was announced in March 2014. “Collaboration is playing a major role in the development of this industry-driven initiative," said Luc Meurant, head of Banking Markets and Compliance Services at SWIFT. "Banks want to collectively address the challenges around KYC compliance and SWIFT is well placed to help. We are receiving tremendous support from the banking community and are making great progress delivering a tool the industry needs to better support KYC compliance for correspondent banking.”

The 12 banks have been participating in a SWIFT-led working group to agree the registry’s processes as well as the documentation and data that will fulfil most of the basic KYC requirements across multiple jurisdictions. A number of working group banks are already populating the Registry with their own relevant KYC information, and user testing of the Registry’s secure, web-based platform is ongoing. Starting in September, an additional group of major banks will begin contributing their company data, helping to ensure a rich set of information is available when the SWIFT KYC Registry goes live at the end of the year.

The KYC Registry is a new initiative by SWIFT that was developed in collaboration with the financial industry and will help banks manage their compliance challenges and reduce the high costs associated with implementing KYC-related regulations. The principle behind SWIFT’s KYC Registry is that each user will have a standardised access point to obtain details on their counterparties, while remaining in control of their own information and which institutions can view it. 

SWIFT’s KYC Registry is currently in pilot and expected to go live at the end of 2014.