BBVA launches financial crime prevention unit to aid customer protection


BBVA, a leading Spanish banking group, has recently unveiled its new global financial crime prevention unit.

This strategic move is to counter the rising levels of financial crime, which continue to become increasingly sophisticated. The newly established unit is designed to build a comprehensive solution model to address the threat of financial crime and focus efforts on customer protection.

BBVA, with a distinguished global presence in multiple countries, provides a range of financial services from retail banking to wealth management. The bank is recognised for its commitment to innovation, consistently integrating advanced technology into its operations.

The newly launched unit, staffed by 800 dedicated personnel within the BBVA group, seeks to mitigate financial crime. These include crimes ranging from basic theft or fraud targeting a single customer to large-scale operations managed by organised crime syndicates, possibly operating on a transnational scale. The unit will leverage advanced analytical models and artificial intelligence, deepening their understanding of their customers’ transaction behaviours.

Further illustrating the proactive approach of BBVA, two hubs for this unit have already been established in Spain and Mexico, with plans to expand into other countries the bank operates in over the upcoming months. This setup promotes a single, vertical responsibility for their preventative operating model, consolidating the bank’s stance against financial crime.

In addition to the launch of this unit, BBVA has been making substantial progress over recent years. In 2022, BBVA successfully thwarted 75% of fraud attempts against its customers, deploying advanced models and new prevention tools.

BBVA’s head of the new global financial crime prevention unit, Natalia Ortega, elaborates, “We want to build a comprehensive solution model to the threat of financial crime for our customers, allowing us to focus our efforts on their protection, while preventing the use of financial institutions for unlawful pursuits.” She continues, “This highlights the need to integrate functions that go beyond what has traditionally been defined as fraud prevention, as we broaden our capabilities to detect any unlawful activity that takes place within the bank.”

Ortega further explained, “BBVA has already gone some of the way in recent years. In 2022 we managed to thwart 75% of fraud attempts against our customers, thanks to advanced models and the use of new prevention tools. We put various defence mechanisms in place, from training and awareness-raising among employees and customers about human factor risk, to investing in new technology that allows us to detect unusual behaviour in customer accounts in real time.”

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