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Parliamentary questions
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15 May 2020
E-001255/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-001255/2020

Costs borne by banks to comply with the requirements of Directive (EU) 2015/849(1) account for around 13% of their overall financial services' regulatory costs(2).

These requirements help to prevent banks from being misused for money laundering purposes. While there are no data on the impact that the costs of implementing these requirements have on banks’ profitability, failure to do so has had major impacts. European banks involved in recent alleged money laundering cases have seen their share value fall drastically, with losses close to 50% in some cases. This has had severe consequences on the banks’ profitability and led to job cuts.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can provide tools to assist in the detection of suspicious or unusual transactions. A number of solutions are available on the market to banks. The White Paper on AI(3) fosters world-class research, development and adoption of AI by Europe across all sectors, including finance.

However, it is important that these solutions be used in line with international and EU standards on fighting money laundering, which allow only specific tasks to be outsourced under certain conditions. Moreover, any sharing of information among banks and between banks and competent authorities also needs to respect other rules, such as data protection and competition rules.

The Commission is considering all options and input received by stakeholders in view of presenting an action plan that will deliver a comprehensive approach to preventing and fighting money laundering and terrorist financing.

(1)Directive (EU) 2015/849 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 May 2015 on the prevention of the use of the financial system for the purposes of money laundering or terrorist financing, amending Regulation (EU) No 648/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and repealing Directive 2005/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council and Commission Directive 2006/70/EC (Text with EEA relevance), OJ L 141, 5.6.2015, p. 73‐117
(2) SWD(2016) 223 final, page 3
(3) https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/white-paper-artificial-intelligence-european-approach-excellence-and-trust_en
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