Bank of Valletta is currently in the process of updating the profiles of its customer base. The Bank is operating in a complex environment, with global challenges that have been affecting all stakeholders in the financial industry, especially when it comes to the risks and challenges posed by financial crime.
Safeguarding and protecting customers is a key commitment for Bank of Valletta. In support of this, regulatory obligations require banks to conduct due diligence of both new and existing customers. This is a requirement under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding Terrorism Regulations. As the largest, systemically important local bank, Bank of Valletta takes its regulatory obligations very seriously. Over the past years the Bank has invested significantly to ensure that these regulatory obligations are continuously being met.
In light of this, the Bank has been reaching out to customers to obtain accurate, complete, and factual information on all its customers. Some of the information requested may include personal or business details, source of funds and other information relevant to the operation of the account. In some instances, supporting documentation may also be requested, proportionate with the risk profile and account activity. The review process is not random and is driven by factors that include risk profile, account activity and nature of documentation held.
The Bank is extremely sensitive to the disruption that this may cause to its customers. The Bank is also aware that information requested may not be easy to obtain. The process being followed tries to mitigate such discomfort. Personalised letters are being sent, including clear dates and timelines for the information required. Follow-up letters are being sent and telephone calls are also being made from time to time when required. Bank staff is at hand to provide the necessary guidance and help customers through this process as swiftly as possible. This is not lip service, but a firm commitment to be supportive to all customers.
In some cases, the relationship between the customer and the Bank may be at risk, if the customer does not provide the required information or misses the set deadlines. The Bank is certainly not after terminating the relationships that it has fostered over many years. Closure notifications are only sent after repeated attempts to obtain the required information.
It is in the interest of both the Bank and its customers to have updated information. Due diligence reviews are not tick-box exercises, but important risk management practices that strengthen the legitimacy of business passing through the Bank.
Bank of Valletta reaffirms its commitment to help customers through this process. Customers with questions are encouraged to reach out so that the appropriate guidance can be offered.
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