Union First Market Bank needed a sophisticated BSA/AML monitoring program that does more than what it’s simply designed to do—rather it does whatever the BSA Officer needs it to do. With BAM+ they found the feature functionality they required.
"With the SmartScenarios in BAM+ we generated 40 percent fewer alerts and caught more truly suspicious activity. "
Union First Market Bank
Union First Market Bank Bowling Green, VA $4 billion in assets Core Processor – FIS HORIZON
Union First Market Bank prides itself on its many convenient locations, and being able to offer all of the latest modern banking conveniences to their customers.
However the products and services that are the most beneficial for the customer often add to the regulatory requirements for the BSA/AML Department. Joe Soniat, the BSA Officer for Union First Market Bank, explains some of the challenges he faces:
“Dealing with technology is a growing challenge we have. With the growth of mobile banking and internet banking it has become more difficult for an AML professional to stay one step ahead, because of the sheer velocity at which funds can come and go from accounts now-a-days.”
Union First Market Bank handles Fraud, Security, Risk Management, Compliance and BSA/AML within one central department. Joe needed something that could free up his time for the additional analytics the increased rate of transactions required.
A tool that generated basic alerts and reports just wasn’t going to cut it for Joe as a former field agent for the FBI. He needed a program that let him control and dig through data quickly to produce granular results and specific action items. This way he would have total confidence in his work.
When Joe set out to find an automated solution for his institution, he recalls ease-of-use as a primary factor leading him to BAM, the leading BSA monitoring software from Banker’s Toolbox. Joe recounts:
“A lot of the other systems are very complicated. They put a lot of big numbers out there, but the biggest thing I need to understand is what we are looking at and how it can help us. When I first looked at BAM it really got me there. I saw its features and what we could look for; I could envision how I would use it right away. I couldn’t say the same thing about other systems.”
When BAM was upgraded to BAM+ in 2013, Joe was excited to get his hands on its new, powerful tools for enhanced BSA/AML monitoring. BAM+ takes the strengths of BAM and adds detailed management-level intelligence, SmartScenario-based alerts and a robust case management workflow. Through the upgrade Joe has seen his highly functioning BSA program improve using BAM+.
“We had been using BAM effectively for years and could have continued to use it successfully. However, we were excited to get the BAM+ upgrade and have seen some definite improvements since it was released,” Joe says. “The enhancements in the BAM+ release have allowed us to be 32 percent more efficient with our time and staff. With the SmartScenarios in BAM+ we generated 40 percent fewer alerts and caught more truly suspicious activity.”
One of the biggest ways BAM+ has improved Joe’s efficiency is through the program’s cutting edge SmartScenarios, which combine artificial intelligence monitoring with the detection of known patterns of suspicious activity.
“Through SmartScenarios our alerts can be more precise,” Joe says. “SmartScenarios are able to aggregate data and show the specific patterns going on with that person or account. This makes my monitoring much more efficient and comprehensive as far as what type of suspicious activity I am actually looking at.”
Joe recounts one instance where the SmartScenarios in BAM+ were able to identify some suspicious ATM withdrawals that might have otherwise gone undetected if monitoring manually.
“Our SmartScenarios recently alerted us to a velocity case where someone was depositing cash in Virginia and the money was getting withdrawn the next day in Mexico via an ATM,” Joe says. “It was within 24 hours so it is very unlikely to be the same person. It could be someone trying to send money home, but it is suspicious and warrants a second look.”
Looking back at his institution’s choice to go with Banker’s Toolbox and BAM+, Joe is very satisfied, “It’s been a perfect fit for our institution.”