Santander UK has been fined £107.8m (€125.44) after the financial watchdog found “serious and persistent gaps” in its anti-money laundering controls
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said business banking customers had been affected by anti-money laundering failures. The FCA said the bank “failed to properly oversee and manage” these systems, which impacted its oversight of more than 560,000 business customers.
Santander had “ineffective” systems to adequately verify the information provided by customers about the business they were doing, the FCA said.
According to the FCA, before the bank shuttered accounts as a result of the problems, more than £298 million had already passed through it.
“Santander’s poor management of their anti-money laundering systems and their inadequate attempts to fix the deficiencies posed a lengthy and serious risk of money laundering and financial crime,” said Mark Steward, Executive Director of Enforcement and Market Oversight at the FCA.
Santander chief executive officer Mike Regnier said: “Santander takes its responsibilities regarding financial crime extremely seriously.
“We are very sorry for the historical anti-money laundering (AML) related controls issues in our Business Banking division between 2012-17 highlighted in the FCA’s findings. While we took action to address our AML issues once they were identified, we accept that our AML framework at the time should have been stronger.
“We have since made significant changes to address this by overhauling our financial crime technology, systems and processes. Today over 4,400 staff are focused on preventing financial crime and we continue to invest to meet our responsibilities and keep our customers and communities safe.”