Effective name screening and the issue with missing names

11.22.2023 | Ben Princen

The use of names is an important aspect of identity and can have significant implications in various areas of life, including banking and financial transactions. In many countries, including those in Europe, official records require individuals to provide their full names, including middle names, on legal documents such as IDs and passports. This is particularly important in the banking industry’s customer checks, where the accuracy of customer information is crucial to avoid fraud and money laundering.

However, in some cases of name matching, missing names or incomplete information can slip through the cracks and create serious issues. For example, an American tier 1 multinational bank was continuing to do business with a drug cartel, despite being on a blacklist. This was due to a missing name or nickname that was not picked up by the bank’s system, leading to a hefty fine.

The issue of missing names in name screening is particularly relevant in certain geographies. For example, in Spanish-speaking countries, individuals may have multiple names, including two surnames that are often combined. A person may have both paternal and maternal surnames, and in some cases, a middle name as well. However, in everyday life, people often only use one of these names, making it challenging to identify individuals accurately.

This problem can be particularly pronounced in the United States, where many people have Hispanic heritage and may use only one surname in their daily lives. This can create confusion when dealing with official records and transactions, especially in situations where a person’s name is misspelled or missing information.

To address this issue, banks and other institutions rely on name screening and transaction screening to identify potential issues and discrepancies. However, these systems are only as effective as the information they receive. Inaccurate or incomplete information can slip through the cracks, leading to serious consequences. To effectively solve this challenge, banks should consider adopting solutions with data validation, cleansing, standardization, and enrichment functionalities. These integrated capabilities would empower banks to rectify data inaccuracies, enhance the overall quality of their data assets and improve operational efficiency.

In conclusion, the issue of missing names is a significant challenge in the banking industry, particularly in countries where individuals have multiple names. It is essential for institutions to have effective systems in place to identify potential issues and discrepancies, but it is also crucial for individuals to ensure that their official records are accurate and complete.

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