Regulations on prevention of financial crime could be eased for banks

  • 2020-11-11
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - Regulations on the prevention of financial crime could be eased for banks, as representatives from state institutions and the Finance Latvia Association agreed during a meeting of Saeima Economic Committee on Wednesday.

Previously, representatives of different industries pointed out that Latvia's fight against money laundering was hampering not only banks' operations, but also businesses, for example, foreign companies were unable to open bank accounts in Latvia.

The committee's head Ralfs Nemiro (KPV LV) acknowledged that the current rules and regulations had to be amended in order to facilitate banking as well as entrepreneurship, while eradication of financial crime would continue. "For a while, we had to fight a fire - to ensure that Latvia did not end up in the gray list. The fight was successful, and now is the time to focus on reasonable solutions," Nemiro added.

Laima Letina, advisor to the Finance Latvia Association, said that the association had developed several proposals to improve and facilitate operations of credit institutions in assessing the risks related to customers' possible involvement in financial crime.

The association proposes introduction of unified, consistent and less emotional communication, as well as the promotion of an understanding of shared responsibility in the prevention of money laundering.

Banks are encouraged to conduct simplified customer surveys according to risk level, focusing more on ongoing and proportionate supervision than on compliance with disproportionate requirements.

The association proposes higher quality training on financial crime for banks, businesses, law enforcement and others. The disproportionate requirements and thresholds set by the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC), which call for customer in-depth analysis for several customer groups, should be lifted.

According to the Financial Industry Association, the requirement to obtain a certificate signed by the beneficial owner of a company is unnecessary bureaucracy for popular, well-known international companies and corporations.

The association also wants the FCMC and the Data State Inspectorate to develop closer cooperation. The association wants access to public registers to be simpler and free, and that all data be available in one place through a single channel.