Ulster Bank is hit with €3.3m fine for regulatory failures
Ulster Bank Ireland has agreed to pay a €3.325m fine to the Central Bank in respect of failures over anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing - failures described by the regulator as "significant".
The penalty is the highest imposed by the Central Bank for anti-money laundering breaches.
The breaches, admitted by Ulster Bank Ireland DAC (formerly Ulster Bank Ireland Limited) occurred over a six-year period until this year.
Ulster Bank was reprimanded for breaches of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering & Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 (the 'CJA 2010').
The Central Bank, which said that retail banks must counter the threat of money laundering "head on", said the breaches identified significant failings in Ulster Bank's AML and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) in respect of outsourcing of governance and control of AML/CFT, risk assessment and customer due diligence (CDD).
Director of enforcement Derville Rowland said Ulster Bank's breaches were "especially concerning" as they pointed to "unacceptable weaknesses" in key aspects of its AML framework, systems and controls over an extended period of time.
"As one of the largest retail banks in Ireland, Ulster Bank Ireland provides a gateway to the financial system for more than one million customers through its extensive network of branches, online and telephone banking," Ms Rowland said.
"Therefore, it is imperative that it vigorously applies the highest levels of anti-money laundering compliance in order to protect, not only itself, but its customers and the wider financial system."
Ulster Bank is the third financial institution in as many weeks to be levied with a fine by the Central Bank.
Last month, KBC Bank Ireland was fined €1.4m and reprimanded for breaches of certain financial regulations.
Days later, the Central Bank of Ireland imposed a fine of €1.15m on Capita Life and Pensions Services (Ireland) Limited for conducting unauthorised business.