Major Nordic banks will replace compliance staff with robots and AI

Nordea and Danske Bank, some of the largest Nordic banks, expect to cut the number of employees who work in their compliance and financial crime departments. Instead of human workers, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are set to identify and prevent suspicious transactions in a more efficient and affordable way.

Before that happens, however, both financial institutions have temporarily increased the number of staff in these two departments in a bid to adhere to strict regulations such as MiFID II. Once the tech-based solutions are ready, most employees will lose their jobs, as machines will be able to manage around 80 per cent of work in the compliance and financial crime units. Adhering to regulation will be increasingly important for these banks, as Nordea was fined in 2015 for failing to comply with anti-money laundering laws, while Danske was embroiled in a massive money laundering scandal in 2018, in which more than $200 billion-worth of suspicious transactions were transferred through its Estonian branch over the course of nine years.

Adhering to ever stricter financial rules in the EU

The European Union is adopting ever stricter rules to prevent money laundering and various financial crimes. To avoid hiring thousands of employees and increasing costs to comply with new rules, banks are turning to AI technologies and hoping that automation can be both more efficient and cheaper in spotting suspicious transactions than human workers.