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.
This Opinion was issued in accordance with Article 29(1)(a) of Regulation (EU) No 1093/2010, which mandates the EBA to provide opinions to Competent Authorities in order to foster a common supervisory culture and consistent supervisory practices in areas of its competence, which include AML/CFT.
The Opinion considers the application of Union AML law as well as the relationship between Directive 2005/60/EC and Directive (EU) 2015/849 on the one hand, and Directive 2014/92/EU on the other hand.