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Current news 18 Feb 2019

BBVA regrets the inconveniences caused by accounts frozen in compliance with money laundering legislation

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BBVA regrets the inconveniences caused by the freezing of some customer accounts in Spain, which was undertaken in compliance with Anti-Money Laundering laws.  This legislation requires that banks assume obligations related to the knowledge, monitoring, and control of their customers and their banking activities with the aim of preventing money laundering in the financial system. BBVA has taken the necessary measures to streamline the documentation process and restore the affected accounts to normal activity, once the documentation required by law is in place.

A group of Chinese citizens demonstrated in front of the BBVA Foundation headquarters in Madrid last Friday to protest the freezing of customer accounts. BBVA holds its Chinese clientele in the highest regard and deeply regrets the inconveniences caused by the bank’s fulfillment of the law.

The process to collect customer documentation applies to all customers, regardless of nationality. The process involves notifying customers about the documentation that they are required to submit and giving them a reasonable window of time to provide it. If the customer does not provide the documentation during this period of time, the bank is obliged to take measures that can include freezing or closing bank accounts and their related activity.

BBVA categorically rejects any form of discrimination and any action that would cause financial exclusion. BBVA is a global bank. Respect for diversity – understood in its widest sense, not just limited to where a person comes from geographically, but also racial, cultural, gender and generational diversity – is part of the bank’s DNA.

BBVA has taken the necessary measures to streamline the documentation process and facilitate the return of the affected accounts to normal activity, once the legally required documentation is in place. These measures are evolving positively and have resolved the situation for a significant number of customers.

The Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing legislation has become increasingly demanding, due to the international standards promoted under the auspices of the G20, where both Spain and China are represented. If the bank does not comply with the requirements of this law, it could face considerable penalties and even criminal charges. This legislation requires that banks assume obligations related to the knowledge, monitoring, and control of their customers and their banking activity with the aim of preventing the financial system from being used to launder ill-gained money or to finance terrorist activities. In this sense, the banking industry plays an interventionist role that is beneficial to society as a whole.

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