Top tier banks to collaborate with SWIFT on KYC registry

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Six major banks have agreed to collaborate with SWIFT to develop an industry utility for know-your-customer (KYC) compliance. As part of the agreement, the banks will also populate the registry with their own KYC data.

The banks--Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Inc., Commerzbank, JPMorgan & Co., Societe Generale and Standard Chartered--will contribute to the development of the utility by participating in an industry-led working group. The working group will help devise the registry's processes as well as the documentation and information necessary to meet KYC requirements across multiple jurisdictions.

SWIFT's registry, to be called KYC Registry, aims to serve as an industry-wide utility for collecting and distributing standard information required by banks as part of their KYC due diligence process. KYC Registry will initially focus on correspondent banking but plans to eventually expand its coverage to other banking areas where KYC compliance issues are challenging.

The registry will enable firms to centrally store their KYC data while still maintaining ownership of it and control over which firms can see it. The registry will also serve as a standardized access point for obtaining KYC data from counterparties when permissioned.

"One of the major challenges with KYC activities is maintaining accurate information," said Pascal Auge, head of global transaction and payment services at Societe Generale. "Having a single, centralized registry for up-to-date KYC information will reduce the time, effort and cost related to gathering, accessing and sharing KYC data."

SWIFT is not the only one to tackle the KYC data repository concept. KYC Exchange Net was launched by Swiss firm IHAG Holding in January. KYC Exchange Net says bank pilots showed time savings of up to 90 percent in the front office, with further savings expected in the middle and back office as well.

For more:
- read the SWIFT press release
- read the Finextra article

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