Islamabad: National Bank of Pakistan, one of the largest commercial banks in the country, was fined $55 million for anti-money laundering violations by two US regulators.
The state-owned bank will pay $35 million in penalties to the New York State Department of Financial Services and another $20 million to the Federal Reserve Board, according to statements from the regulators.
“The Federal Reserve Board announced a $20.4 million penalty against the National Bank of Pakistan, a foreign bank operating in the United States and headquartered in Pakistan, for anti-money laundering violations. The Board will also require the firm to improve its anti-money laundering programme,” the official statement said.
In a notice to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), NBP said it has reached an agreement with US regulators.
NBP president Arif Usmani said the penalty was for “historical compliance programme weaknesses and delays in making compliance-related enhancements,” adding that “there were no findings of improper transactions or willful misconduct.” He also said that the bank’s system has been improved under the new management since May 2020.
The two US regulators previously took action against the bank over persistent compliance deficiencies at the New York branch. In 2016, the bank agreed to address significant shortcomings the regulators identified, but ultimately failed to do so, the regulators said. “These continued failures revealed that the Branch’s senior management were unwilling or unable to promote a culture of compliance,” the New York regulator said.
Under the settlement reached, the bank will be required to create a plan to improve its anti-money-laundering program as well as its suspicious-activity monitoring and customer due-diligence requirements.
The New York regulator acknowledged the bank’s cooperation and efforts to improve its compliance.