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Co-op boosts defences against fraud

Nick Huber

The Co-operative Bank has signed a deal to use software from IBM and Searchspace to help it to detect suspicious financial transactions and comply with money laundering regulations.

The Co-op is using a package from IBM’s newly-formed European Financial Crime Unit as an addition to its existing anti-money laundering systems.

The system uses Searchspace’s Sentinel software, running on Websphere middleware and eServer pSeries from IBM.

It checks for unusual customer behaviour, comparing transactions to data stored in front- and back-office IT systems at the bank.

The software alerts investigators at the Co-op bank to suspicious transactions who then investigate and decide whether to inform the National Criminal Intelligence Service.

Steve Howlett, head of financial crime prevention at the Co-operative Bank, said the software would help the bank to continue to comply with money laundering regulations and legislation.

"The accuracy of the alert [over a potentially suspicious transaction] is as important as the number of alerts [the software] generates. The [software] gives us more qualitative information," he said.

Financial services companies are spending more on fraud detection software in response to stringent anti-money laundering regulations in Europe and the US.

In December 2003 high-street bank Abbey was fined about £2m by City watchdog the Financial Services Authority for failing to meet regulations to tackle money laundering.


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