WU to continue enhancing anti-money laundering program

Published October 3, 2021, 10:50 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

Western Union has committed to continue enhancing global compliance programs, including its anti-money laundering program, to flag down suspected money laundering transactions and remittances.

Jeffrey Navarro, Western Union head of Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indochina, said in an email interview that these compliance programs comprise policies, procedures, systems and internal controls to monitor and to address various legal and regulatory requirements worldwide.

Jeffrey Navarro-Western Union Head

“We continue to adapt our business practices and strategies to help us comply with current and evolving legal standards, including heightened regulatory focus on compliance with anti-money laundering or fraud-prevention requirements,” said Navarro.

Navarro, however, refused to discuss specifics when asked to cite an instance or instances where it flagged down suspected money laundering transactions/remittances in the Philippines.

“Western Union’s business is based on trust, and, therefore, we place the highest priority on compliance with local laws to stamp out illegal activity, like money laundering and fraud,” he said.

To prevent illegal money transfers, Navarro said Western Union is investing in technology to enhance compliance, keeping “bad money” out of the system “so that consumers can rely on our commitment to offer a service that complies with local laws and regulations.”

He cited the company’s compliance capabilities, which have been recognized multiple times. For instance, “Our ability to protect consumers from fraud and our ability to disrupt such scourges as human trafficking and drug trafficking. We take great pride in doing the right thing,” he said.

Meanwhile, Navarro said that as a company they continuously revisit its offerings to keep up with the changing needs of Filipinos for remittance channels.

For instance, Western Union has entered into retail partnerships with True Money, Smart Padala by Paymaya and digital product offerings with UnionBank through PeraHub and Cebuana Lhuillier to be able Filipinos to transact where they are at any given time.

Aside from growing its network, Navarro also said they have been actively growing its digital offering which includes launching Western Union in USSC, PeraHub, GCash, Paymaya and coin.ph’s digital apps. These collaborations offer a mix of retail and digital service options to customers, so they can use WU however they choose.

“Our inclusive global financial network enables customers worldwide to access financial services digitally or in cash. We pair innovation in our fast-growing digital network with scale in our retail presence to serve customers in whatever way they prefer. This approach enables us to serve financially underserved communities that other financial institutions may not reach,” he said.

 
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