EU banks must give Ukrainian refugees access to bank accounts: regulator – POLITICO

European banks can apply lighter anti-money laundering checks to Ukrainian refugees to ensure they can open basic bank accounts, EU banking regulator says mentioned Wednesday.

Banks and supervisors should ensure that refugees can access the EU financial system without having to zealously comply with anti-money laundering rules, the European Banking Authority said in a statement.

“Following the invasion of Ukraine, millions of people have taken refuge in EU member states,” the regulator said. “They need access to basic financial products and services to participate in EU society. The EBA calls on financial institutions to provide them with this access.”

For example, banks do not need a passport to open an account with basic functionality and can rely on other documents to prove that a potential customer is a Ukrainian refugee, the authority said. based in Paris.

Banks can also postpone some customer verifications to a later date to allow refugees to use prepaid cards and instead increase their monitoring or set limits such as restrictions on person-to-person money transfers. to counter the risks.

Still, the EBA has warned that lenders should be alert to signs of exploitation or human trafficking, such as “unreasonably” low wage transfers or strange payment patterns.

The EU regulator has also warned banks to be on guard against signs that customers are trying to ‘hide’ relationships with those hit by Russian sanctions, or conceal the true owner of a business. as they seek to comply with the EU sanctions regime.

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, the EBA had already warned banks against abandoning ‘risky’ customers like diamond dealers and asylum seekers in the name of anti-money laundering compliance silver.

Shawanda H. Saldana