Queen Maxima of The Netherlands, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA), highlighted the financial access problems that NPOs face, and its great impact, in her speech at the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units plenary meeting in The Hague on the 4th of July. Excerpts from her speech (full text here):
‘Nearly nine years ago, I highlighted at a FATF meeting in Amsterdam that financial inclusion and financial integrity were complementary, something I still very much believe today.
…the issue of de-risking still threatens these crucial financial flows. The number of active correspondent banks declined by 3.8% in 2018—a decline that has been continuous since 2009.
The decline of correspondent banks and money transfer operators has negative consequences for individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations that send or receive money abroad.
Many non-profit organizations, especially those working in sensitive geographies, have lost access to international payments, and are sometimes driven back to cash. This is critical at a time when populations in need of humanitarian assistance are growing.
… the Egmont Group could further promote dialogue at the national level between international banks working locally, local banks, MTOs, NPOs, as well as regulators. It is essential to have this dialogue. It can help these stakeholders gain a common understanding of the specific nature of the risks of money laundering and financing of terrorism to then determine a proportionate approach.
I was also pleased to hear that the World Bank and the Dutch Ministry of Finance are exploring solutions on improving business relationships between banks and non-profits by building a mutual understanding of AML/CFT issues.’