BBVA announces financial crime unit

BBVA, the renowned Spanish banking group, has taken a proactive stance against the escalating levels of financial crime by introducing its new global financial crime prevention unit.

The primary objective of this strategic initiative is to counter the growing sophistication of financial crime, and the unit has been specially designed to develop a comprehensive solution model that addresses these threats and prioritises customer protection.

BBVA, with a strong global presence spanning multiple countries, offers a wide range of financial services, from retail banking to wealth management. The bank has earned recognition for its commitment to innovation, consistently integrating cutting-edge technology into its operations.

The newly launched financial crime prevention unit comprises 800 dedicated professionals from within the BBVA group, working collectively to mitigate various forms of financial crime. These encompass crimes ranging from individual customer-targeted fraud and theft to large-scale operations masterminded by organised crime syndicates that may extend across national borders. The unit will leverage advanced analytical models and artificial intelligence to gain deeper insights into customer transaction behaviours, bolstering the bank’s ability to detect and thwart illicit activities.

BBVA’s proactive approach is evident as it has already established two hubs for the unit in Spain and Mexico, with plans to expand its operations to other countries where the bank operates in the coming months. By adopting this setup, the bank centralises responsibility for its preventative operating model, reinforcing its commitment to combat financial crime effectively.

In addition to the unit’s establishment, BBVA has made substantial progress in recent years. In 2022, the bank successfully prevented 75% of fraud attempts targeting its customers by deploying advanced models and new prevention tools.

Natalia Ortega, the head of BBVA’s new global financial crime prevention unit, expressed the bank’s vision, stating, “We aim to create a comprehensive solution model to tackle financial crime for our customers, focusing on their protection while thwarting any attempts to misuse financial institutions for illicit purposes.” Ortega emphasised the need to expand beyond traditional fraud prevention functions to detect and address all unlawful activities within the bank.

She further elaborated on the measures already taken by BBVA, including employee and customer training to raise awareness of human factor risks, as well as investments in state-of-the-art technology enabling real-time detection of unusual customer account activities. This multi-layered approach demonstrates BBVA’s commitment to maintaining the highest level of security and safeguarding its customers’ interests.

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