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State Bank directs banks, DFIs to carryout biometric verification of customers

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has directed all Pakistani banks and Development Financial Institutions (DFIs) to carry out biometric verification of the existing customers by 30th November 2018, to eliminate fake accounts and end illegal transactions.

The central bank in a statement said, to preserve the integrity, soundness and safety of the financial system, SBP has been endeavoring to prevent the possible use of the banking sector for money laundering, terrorist financing and other illicit activities.

With the objective to know the ultimate beneficial ownership of accounts/ transactions, the banks/DFIs shall enhance their efforts to obtain relevant information and examine background and purpose of all complex, unusual large transactions and unusual patterns of transactions, which do not commensurate with customer profile or have no apparent economic or visible lawful purpose, said the central bank.

With the view to further strengthen the measures already in place and mitigate the money laundering and terrorist financing risks, SBP advised banks/DFIs to immediately take steps to ensure optimal utilization of biometric technology and carry out biometric verification of the existing customers (if already not done) as per given timelines and thresholds.

The SBP has asked banks to conduct biometric verification of listed /public limited companies having account turnover exceeding Rs 1,000 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 on high priority basis.

The central bank has also advised all banks that biometric verification of the private limited companies having account turnover exceeding Rs 500 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018, and all customers except public/private limited companies having account turnover exceeding Rs 250 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 should be conducted by 30 November 2018.

In a second category, the SBP said the biometric verification of listed /public limited companies’ accounts which have account turnover from Rs 500 million to Rs 1000 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 shall be conducted by January 31, 2019. Also, same will be done for Private Limited Companies with account turnover from Rs 250 million to Rs 500 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018. All customers except Public/Private Limited Companies with account turnover from Rs 100 million to Rs 250 million for any of the calendar year 2016, 2017 or for a period since January 1, 2018 to September 30, 2018 are also included in the second category, whose biometric verification will be done before January 31, 2019.

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