BOV conducting customer due diligence as part of its anti-money laundering obligations

Customers that do not comply with the exercise or miss deadlines might have their accounts terminated

Bank of Valletta is currently in the process of updating the profiles of its customer base and is reaching out to them requesting personal and business details as part of its anti-money laundering obligations.

In a press release, BOV said it is currently operating in a complex environment, with global challenges that have been affecting all stakeholders in the financial industry, especially when it comes to the risks and challenges posed by financial crime.

“Safeguarding and protecting customers is a key commitment for Bank of Valletta. In support of this, regulatory obligations require banks to conduct due diligence of both new and existing customers,” the bank said.

BOV explained that this is a requirement under the Prevention of Money Laundering and Funding Terrorism Regulations.

“As the largest, systemically important local bank, Bank of Valletta takes its regulatory obligations very seriously. Over the past years, the Bank has invested significantly to ensure that these regulatory obligations are continuously being met.”

It said that it has been reaching out to customers to obtain accurate, complete, and factual information on all its customers.

Some of the information requested may include personal or business details, source of funds, and other information relevant to the operation of the account.

It pointed out that supporting documentation could also be required, proportionate with the risk profile and account activity.

“The review process is not random and is driven by factors that include risk profile, account activity, and nature of documentation held,” BOV said.

It said it was “extremely sensitive” to the disruption it might cause to its customers and that the requested information might not be easy to obtain.

“The process being followed tries to mitigate such discomfort. Personalised letters are being sent, including clear dates and timelines for the information required. Follow-up letters are being sent, and telephone calls are also being made from time to time when required.”

It emphasised that if a customer did not provide the required information or missed the set deadlines, the bank might have no choice but to cut ties with them.

“The Bank is certainly not after terminating the relationships it has fostered over many years. Closure notifications are only sent after repeated attempts to obtain the required information,” BOV said.

“It is in the interest of both the Bank and its customers to have updated information. Due diligence reviews are not tick-box exercises, but important risk management practices that strengthen the legitimacy of business passing through the Bank.”

The bank reaffirmed its commitment to helping customers through this process and encouraged customers with questions to reach out to its representatives.