Embracing the future: Optimizing financial crime monitoring through digital solutions

Rakesh Singh,

Senior Director - BFS Risk & Compliance

Published: October 10, 2023

The global landscape of financial crime is a significant concern, with estimates from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) suggesting that money laundering reaches between 2 and 5% of the global GDP, equating to $2 trillion to $5 trillion. However, the annual seizure of illicit funds remains below 1% of this total, ranging from $20 billion to $50 billion. It’s no wonder that financial institutions face compliance costs of approximately $274 billion globally, an increase of approximately 28% on the 2020 figure of approximately $214 billion, per a 2022 study by Lexis Nexis.

Effective financial crime monitoring is essential to ensure the integrity and stability of the banking and financial industry, mitigating losses attributed to money laundering, fraud, terrorist financing, and embezzlement. Adhering to regulations like Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorist Financing (CTF) is pivotal in maintaining trust, avoiding penalties, and safeguarding banks, customers, and the larger financial system.

Challenges faced by traditional methods

Traditional methods of monitoring financial crime in banks and financial services firms face several challenges that can limit their effectiveness. 



  • Traditional methods lack the advanced data analytics capabilities required for real-time processing and analysis of large data volumes.
  • Dependency on batch processing or periodic reviews leads to delays in detecting suspicious activity.
  • Cumbersome software development processes cause delays in implementing necessary updates to monitoring systems.
  • Traditional methods struggle to adapt to evolving fraud schemes and changing compliance regulations.
  • On-premises infrastructure may need help escalating data and transaction loads in financial crime monitoring.



  • Manual processes and outdated systems lead to inefficient resource allocation.
  • Traditional monitoring systems generate a high number of false positive alerts, overwhelming investigators and hindering detection efficiency.
  • Continuous operation during disruptions or failures is essential for financial crime monitoring systems.

Regulatory compliance

Regulatory compliance

  • Compliance requirements related to AML, CTF, and other regulations are constantly evolving.
  • Balancing between privacy protection regulations and effective AML/CFT measures is complex.


Evolving tactics

Evolving tactics

  • Financial criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, employing complex techniques and technologies to evade detection.
  • A combination of methods to hide the real source and destination of funds includes crypto transactions, correspondent banking, payment service providers, cash purchases, etc.

Addressing these challenges requires leveraging digital technologies, advanced analytics, automation, low code platforms, and cloud and microservices architecture to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of financial crime monitoring in banks and financial services firms.

Role of digital technologies in optimizing financial crime monitoring

Digital technologies are pivotal in elevating financial crime monitoring in banks and financial services firms by offering innovative solutions that enhance detection capabilities, improve efficiency, and enable real-time monitoring. 

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

AI and ML have revolutionized the detection and prevention of money laundering activities. They allow financial institutions to analyze extensive data volumes, identify intricate patterns, and detect suspicious transactions more accurately and efficiently. These technologies enable the following:

  • Employ AI and ML algorithms, including supervised and unsupervised models, to monitor and analyze real-time transactional data, learning from historical patterns and detecting anomalies that indicate potential money laundering.
  • Establish behavioral profiles for customers, detecting deviations from normal patterns by analyzing transaction frequency, amounts, geographic locations, and customer relationships.
  • Utilize Graph Neural Networks, Artificial Neural Networks, and Logistics regressions to identify complex transactional and social networks of relationships between individuals, accounts, and entities.
  • Apply Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques to analyze unstructured data sources, extracting relevant information from customer communications, news articles, and regulatory filings.
  • Automate and streamline KYC processes for accurate customer identification and risk assessment, enhancing compliance and reducing fraudulent risks.
  • Facilitate efficient due diligence by identifying high-risk entities involved in money laundering through analysis of customer profiles, corporate structures, and beneficial ownership information.
  • Automate regulatory reporting processes, ensuring compliance with AML regulations and adapting to regulatory changes.

Automation and Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

Automation and RPA optimize financial crime monitoring in banks and financial services firms by automating manual tasks, enhancing efficiency, reducing errors, and improving the overall effectiveness of financial crime monitoring.

  • RPA can automate various investigations, gathering data from multiple sources, performing data analysis, and generating reports, enabling investigators to focus on more complex cases requiring human expertise.
  • Automation and RPA enable faster response times to potential financial crimes by automating alerts and notifications, ensuring swift action.
  • Automation and RPA provide scalability and adaptability to handle increased transaction volumes and evolving fraud patterns.

Low code platforms

Optimizing financial crime monitoring using low-code platforms can bring several benefits, including faster development, increased agility, and improved collaboration between business and IT teams. Low-code platforms enable the following:

  • Expedite custom application and workflow development without extensive coding, facilitating quick responses to evolving fraud patterns and regulatory demands.
  • Foster collaboration between business and IT by enabling domain experts to participate in development using visual modeling tools.
  •  Seamlessly integrate with existing systems and data sources, offering user-friendly interfaces for enhanced user experience.
  • Provide user-friendly dashboards, visualizations, and reports, increasing the efficiency of investigators and analysts.

Cloud and microservices

Implementing cloud and microservices architecture offers scalability, flexibility, cost-efficiency, and improved performance for financial crime monitoring.

  • Microservices architecture modularizes systems into independent microservices for flexibility and agility, enabling rapid adjustments to emerging fraud patterns.
  • Cloud computing saves costs by eliminating on-premises infrastructure and providing robust security measures.
  • By leveraging cloud services, financial institutions can benefit from advanced security features like encryption, access controls, and threat detection. Cloud environments also offer compliance certifications and adhere to industry standards, easing the burden of meeting regulatory requirements.
  • Cloud-based architectures enable faster deployment and updates of financial crime monitoring systems, ensuring ongoing effectiveness.
  • Cloud environments provide built-in disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities. Data replication, backup, and failover mechanisms ensure that financial crime monitoring systems can quickly recover from disruptions or failures.

Digital technologies are crucial in optimizing financial crime monitoring, enhancing detection, improving operational efficiency, and enabling proactive risk management. By harnessing AI, ML, automation, low-code platforms, and cloud/microservices architecture, organizations can better protect themselves, their customers, and the overall financial ecosystem from the threats posed by financial crimes.


Financial institutions worldwide grapple with the pervasive issue of financial crime, where trillions of dollars are laundered annually. Traditional methods of monitoring, burdened by technology limitations, operational inefficiencies, regulatory complexities, and evolving criminal tactics, struggle to keep pace. Embracing digital solutions is the way forward.

AI and ML empower real-time analysis of vast data volumes, identifying money laundering patterns and behavioral anomalies. Automation and RPA streamline processes, enabling faster responses to potential crimes. Low code platforms expedite development and collaboration, while cloud and microservices ensure scalability, cost-efficiency, and security.


Unlock the power of AI, automation, and cloud solutions to fortify financial crime monitoring, safeguard your enterprise, and secure the global financial system from evolving threats.

Rakesh Singh

Rakesh Singh

Senior Director - BFS Risk & Compliance

Rakesh brings over two decades of experience in business and IT consulting across banking and capital markets. His focus area is financial crime monitoring and regulatory compliance. At Virtusa, Rakesh handles digital technology-enabled financial risk and compliance offerings.

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