Hong Kong's First Virtual Bank Partners with Accuity to Meet Compliance Requirements and Improve Customer Experience

ZA Bank implements an automated screening solution from Accuity to securely open bank accounts, approve loan applications, and process payments

SINGAPORE and HONG KONG, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Accuity, the leading global provider of financial crime screening, payments and counterparty know your customer (KYC) solutions, today announced that ZA Bank, Hong Kong's first virtual bank, has implemented its screening solution to improve customer experiences, and at the same time, meet domestic and international regulatory requirements.

Under Hong Kong's regulatory and supervisory framework, a bank must regularly demonstrate that it has a robust risk and compliance screening system in place to screen and alert the bank regarding individuals who could be engaged in financial crime, associated with sanctioned regions or entities, or are politically exposed persons (PEPs), to prevent them from using the bank as a conduit for illicit activities.

With exceptional customer experience being a core focus of ZA Bank, it has to ensure that its risk and compliance screening system can cope with the need to filter in real-time against a variety of rapidly changing regulations and sanction lists, without disrupting the flow of finance or generating unnecessary and overwhelming amounts of extra work. More importantly, the bank needs to maintain a high level of efficiency when handling account openings, loan applications and payments.

Rockson Hsu, CEO, ZA Bank, said, "While ZA Bank provides around-the-clock, innovative services purely through a mobile application, we have adopted a rigorous compliance and risk management approach like the traditional banks do. Accuity has been a valuable partner in our endeavour to make banking accessible to more people in our community through technology. By handling growing numbers of customers and transactions with high levels of accuracy, their Firco screening solution has not only helped us meet the AML and KYC-related requirements, it has played a key role in upholding our dedication to excellence."

By turning to the suite of Firco screening solutions, including Firco Continuity, Firco Trust and Firco Global WatchList®, ZA Bank has achieved a balance between ensuring rigorous risk management and delivering excellent customer experiences. The solution operationalizes three key steps: automated alert detection, reduction of false positive alerts, and prioritization of high-risk alerts. This allows ZA Bank to generate an electronic audit trail that acts as retrospective proof of the bank's compliance policies in action, for sharing with auditors and regulators.

Underpinned by unique filtering technology and configured based on ZA Bank's specific needs and risk profile, Firco Trust can screen millions of customers at the time of onboarding, while Firco Continuity can screen millions of transactions for fast settlement. An individual's name, for instance, is the starting point for many screening checks. The filtering technology has been designed to account for common variations in name structures or typologies in English, Simplified Chinese characters, Traditional Chinese characters, and Hanyu Pinyin, amongst many other languages.

Bharath Vellore, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Accuity, said, "The competitive edge for digital banks is primarily through customer experience and lower operational costs. Accuity is proud to be supporting ZA Bank's innovative business model, as well as Hong Kong's advancement into the era of smart banking. The success of this implementation is a strong validation of our reliable and flexible solutions to constantly address new industry needs and standards, such as extensive due diligence, preventing financial crime, and enabling fast, scalable, and frictionless user experiences."

Note for Editors:

About Accuity:

Accuity powers compliant and assured client transactions to help build an interconnected and trusted financial ecosystem. Our financial crime screening, payment services, and benefits compliance solutions help enable financial inclusion while identifying criminal activity and fraudulent players. With deep expertise and industry-leading data and analytics solutions from the Firco and Bankers Almanac brands, Accuity provides unmatched confidence, efficiency and compliance for customers around the world. Part of RELX, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries, Accuity has been delivering solutions to banks and businesses worldwide for 180 years. 

About ZA Bank:

ZA Bank Limited ("ZA Bank"), licensed by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority ("HKMA") on 27 March 2019, is one of the first batch of virtual banks in Hong Kong. On 18 December 2019, ZA Bank conducted its pilot trial under the HKMA's FinTech Supervisory Sandbox. On 24 March 2020, ZA Bank officially launched its services to the public, making it the first fully operational virtual bank in Hong Kong.

ZA Bank was established by ZhongAn Technologies International Group Limited ("ZA International"). With its "Community-Driven" approach, ZA Bank encourages users to directly contribute to its product development and design process, guiding the bank to design and develop innovative products and services that will better serve the needs of customers in Hong Kong.

ZA International was established in Hong Kong in December 2017, by ZhongAn Online P&C Insurance Co., Ltd. (HKEX stock code: 6060), an online-only InsurTech company in China, to explore international business development, collaboration and investment opportunities in the area of FinTech and Insurtech in overseas market.

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