Ulster Bank fined €3.3 million over rule breaches

2nd November 2016
Ulster Bank has been fined 3.3 million (£3 million) by Ireland’s financial watchdog over breaches of money laundering and terrorist financing rules. The Central Bank said its inquiries uncovered significant failings in Ulster Bank’s procedures practices over six years from July 2010. It said its inquiries uncovered significant failings in Ulster Bank’s procedures but no money laundering or financing of terrorism was identified.

Central Bank director of enforcement Derville Rowland said the breaches were especially concerning and highlighted unacceptable weaknesses over an extended period of time. “As one of the largest retail banks in Ireland, Ulster Bank Ireland provides a gateway to the financial system for more than one million customers through its extensive network of branches, online and telephone banking, Therefore, it is imperative that it vigorously applies the highest levels of anti-money laundering compliance in order to protect not only itself but its customers and the wider financial system.”

The Central Bank of Ireland said banks and financial institutions must have adequate policies in place under the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 to prevent and detect the commission of money laundering and terrorist financing. It said its inquiry identified eight breaches including issues around outsourcing, risk assessment and due diligence of customers.

Ms Rowland added: “The fine imposed on Ulster Bank Ireland demonstrates that the Central Bank will take action where anti-money laundering frameworks and controls are not sufficiently robust. The enforcement of anti-money laundering governance and controls is and will continue to be a priority for the Central Bank.”

Ulster Bank was fined a total of €3.325 million.