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Fostering trust and transparency in global correspondent relationships alongside the Wolfsberg Group

Fostering trust and transparency in global correspondent relationships alongside the Wolfsberg Group

Know Your Customer,
29 October 2019 | 4 min read

A standardised due diligence approach fosters trust and transparency between correspondent banks. Wolfsberg Group’s Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire (CBDDQ) aims to be a key driver in creating a global standard

A strong network of trusted global correspondent relationships is the cornerstone of real-time, cross-border payments. With the introduction of a standardised due diligence approach, compliance teams can seek to play a more proactive and central role in facilitating wider and deeper correspondent relationships across the globe, as well as managing risk effectively.

But unlocking real or near real-time compliance can’t be achieved in isolation; compliance teams must harness mutualised solutions to create a globally secure network. 

A community effort

Achieving greater standardisation and transparency that, in turn, deliver cost-efficiencies for banks requires a community approach. And this is exactly what the Wolfsberg Group is striving to do with its Correspondent Banking Due Diligence Questionnaire (CBDDQ)

The CBDDQ aims to introduce one due diligence standard for international correspondent banking, and is available to Know Your Customer (KYC) utilities and the wider banking community. It provides benefits to all banks, for which correspondent banking due diligence remains an important but complex, time consuming and costly exercise.

Within the Swift community, we have already taken significant steps forward, creating solutions that simplify and speed up the compliance process. Swift’s KYC Registry is just one example, allowing members to answer every Wolfsberg CBDDQ directly on the platform. It delivers huge benefits to banks, with a standard agreed by the community and a secure platform that enables efficient data sharing. This is a truly collaborative solution, and banks are aligning on the processes.

KYC Registry members can answer every Wolfsberg CBDDQ question directly on the platform, increasing transparency and streamlining due diligence processes.

Marie-Charlotte Henseval, KYC compliance services, Swift

Backed by industry bodies such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the CBDDQ is becoming the go-to standard in correspondent banking due diligence.

Fostering deeper levels of trust

As cross-border payments move to real time, compliance teams have an ever more central role to play in managing and monitoring risk across the globe.

By adopting global standards for correspondent banking due diligence, such as those introduced by the Wolfsberg Group, compliance teams can help to build trust between correspondent banks. 

"In the long term, we believe that, the adoption of a standardised, reasonable CBDDQ will engender a less arduous, and thereby inherently less costly, due diligence process for Correspondent Banks. As it beds down, this should allow for a standard that all financial institutions, and their supervisors, can work towards achieving,” said the Wolfsberg group.  

Solutions to facilitate the sharing and ongoing management of KYC information between correspondents also help to create a globally secure network to tackle financial crime and speed up the compliance process. 

That’s why Swift is continuing to work closely with the Wolfsberg Group - a member of our Financial Crime Compliance Advisory Group - to address the broad range of compliance challenges facing the correspondent banking community.

Wolfsberg CBDDQ: Expanded scope

In addition to supporting baseline KYC, the CBDDQ requires banks to attest to the efficacy of their Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) and Sanctions programmes. 

On completion, the questionnaire must be signed off by the global head of correspondent banking and the global head of financial crime compliance or equivalent. This stringent control process supports deeper levels of trust and transparency in the correspondent banking community and demonstrates that a respondent bank’s financial crime prevention programme is jointly owned by the first and second lines of defence. 

Over 1,100 banks have already completed the questionnaire, demonstrating widespread support for the initiative. Find out more