Money launders are rife the world over, and it is a bank's responsibility to ensure they do not fall prey to these fraudsters. It is against this backdrop that Skye Bank, one of the top ten banks in Nigeria, has undertaken to implement the SAS Money Laundering Detection solution across its organisation.

Skye Bank is one of the industry leaders in Nigeria. It is a publicly quoted company with over 500 000 shareholders, and operates out of over 250 branches and transaction centres across Nigeria, serviced by over 6 000 professional bankers and business experts with a N1-trillion ($7-Billion) balance sheet. The bank operates 600 ATM machines across Nigeria, and with its African expansion strategy it now has full operations in Sierra Leone and The Gambia, while business operations in Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, Congo (DRC), Guinea and Equatorial Guinea are at concluding stages of regulatory clearance.
"Risk factors are not something that only impacts western countries, it is something very prevalent to all organisations on the African continent," says Arho Akpe, head of IT at Skye Bank. "In order to encourage global investment and position ourselves as a global player in the financial services industry we need to ensure that the transactions going in and out of our bank are above board and comply with international regulatory requirements.
"It is because of this that we turned to SAS, and its Money Laundering Detection solution. The company has worked with financial institutions the world over and we wanted a proven solution that would help us identify fraud and risk factors in our organisation before they become a threat."
The project roll out began early 2008 and was wrapped up in November, well within time and budget. SAS Money Laundering Detection is a sophisticated anti-money laundering solution that can take mountains of information from all areas of a financial business, manage and refine that information, and turn it into usable knowledge that will help that business automatically identify and classify suspicious behaviour.
The solution is now helping Skye Bank meet stringent government regulations, protect shareholder confidence and maintain a strong reputation. The solution offers an integrated and open-ended architecture that lets Skye gather information across data sources, transform the appropriate data into usable knowledge, detect suspicious activity and accurately alert investigators and authorities.
"Not only does the solution meet our requirements from a business perspective, but we were very impressed with the seamless rollout of the solution," says Akpe. "The project was quick and the implementation painless with little to no disruption to our business. We were very happy with the support we received from Resourcery Limited, SAS consulting partners in Nigeria and SAS Global Professional Services and Delivery (PSD). With the project completed one month ahead of time we have already begun reaping the rewards."
2009 is presenting itself as a tenuous year for financial institutions, with numerous international banks having to be bailed out of financial difficulty. By implementing this flexible money laundering detection solution, Skye bank is ensuring it is managing risks for the future by gaining full data management and transparency to ensure consistent processes, procedures and controls – while keeping a tight handle on potential fraud.
"Skye Bank is truly an innovator in Nigeria, the bank is forward thinking in its approach to business and are very technology savvy in comparison to many of its local counterparts and competitors. While the implementation is a success for Skye, it is also a great success for SAS and forms a quintessential part of our expansion into sub-Saharan Africa," says Edward Sungura, regional director of sub-Saharan Africa at SAS Institute.