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FSS warns KakaoBank to strengthen anti-money laundering measures

KakaoBank’s headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province (KakaoBank)
KakaoBank’s headquarters in Pangyo, Gyeonggi Province (KakaoBank)

South Korea’s financial watchdog on Friday warned online-only lender KakaoBank to improve its monitoring system that protects against money laundering.

Financial Supervisory Service concluded that KakaoBank’s anti-money-laundering team lacks a monitoring process, relying only on receiving tips from other teams.

As a result of weak monitoring, the online lender failed to ring the alarm on several cases that involved suspicious money transfers overseas, the FSS said.

For instance, the bank didn’t bolster measures against money laundering to ensure transparent transactions for companies subscribing to the online lender’s banking service. It also didn’t have a system to assess the risk of money laundering via new financial products, officials added.

“KakaoBank doesn’t have objective criteria on how to lower the risks, and that could weaken the monitoring of new financial products and services,” FSS said in a report.

FSS also urged KakaoBank to update clients’ English names and home or work addresses to strengthen its capacity for accurate customer identification.

In response to the FSS warning, KakaoBank said it would discuss ways to bolster the anti-money-laundering process.

By Byun Hye-jin (