About ISO 20022
In October 2021, SWIFT published the Guiding Principles for screening ISO 20022 payments. These screening guidelines can help compliance professionals harness the true power of ISO 20022’s richer data. Why does the adoption of ISO 20022 represent a major change for the Financial Crime Compliance community?
“As the payments industry prepares to adopt ISO 20022, banks are revisiting their screening environments to identify the impact of this move and opportunities for change. The ISO message provides more structured and granular information than their FIN equivalents. ISO 20022 also provides the ability to include additional information, which creates an opportunity for the industry to re-think existing approaches to screening”.
Useful reminder – the new ISO 20022 standard is set to enable instant and frictionless transactions as the payments landscape changes to an instant 24/7 model and customer expectations grow.
As clearly stated by the Wolfsberg Group who endorsed SWIFT screening guidelines, “the adoption of ISO 20022 standards represents the most far-reaching change to the payment messaging industry in a generation”. The granular structure of ISO 20022 creates an opportunity to remove sanctions-related frictions in the payment chain.
Screena API now provides all the tooling to ensure a smooth and effective transition from a traditional free format/brute-force to a more structured/granular Transaction Screening strategy.
Here is a sneak peek at what new features come out with Screena v2.1.
Narratives are widely used in payment messages to provide a narrative description in addition to structured information, which will allow the recipient of the message to obtain a sufficient level of information that cannot be reflected in structured data alone (e.g., Remittance information, Sender to Receiver information, etc). Narratives usually generate significant hits due to the free format nature of these fields.
Screena v2.1 introduces enhanced endpoints to match narratives and minimize the human labeling effort for entity matching on unstructured data sets. We use several text processing techniques in combination with our AI-powered name matching engine that clearly outperform comparable entity matching approaches on an unstructured real word data set. It is also very important to highlight that screening performance and response times remain top of the line when matching narratives.
Similarly to narratives, Screena v2.1 fully supports the screening of unstructured addresses. We have supercharged our geolocation detection capabilities with GeoNames, a geographical database which contains over eleven million placenames. What does it mean? When applying our geo-matching algorithm, you can now request Screena to return a standardized set of countries in ISO 3166-alpha 2 format detected from any field likely to provide geographic information in an unstructured format. And obviously, it also works with narratives. This setting is typically used to screen free format tags against Embargo data and identify a possible connection with sanctioned countries.
Digital Currencies and BICs
In recent years, OFAC sanctions have increasingly targeted individuals and entities that have used virtual currency in connection with malign activity. Consecutively, the U.S. Department of the Treasury has recently published a brochure to help members of the virtual currency industry navigate and comply with OFAC sanctions. In the brochure, it is prescribed that “once a U.S. person determines that they hold virtual currency that is required to be blocked pursuant to OFAC’s regulations, the U.S. person must deny all parties access to that virtual currency, ensure that they comply with OFAC regulations”.
As OFAC is now adding digital currency addresses to the SDN List, Screena API provides new elements to ensure that any incoming and outgoing transactions are screened for a potential match with digital currency identifiers or wallets that are owned by, or otherwise associated with, an SDN.
Likewise, Screena allows the screening of Business Identifier Codes (BICs) as either a substitute or a complement of name information. Said differently, BIC codes and digital currency identifiers can be either screened as an attribute of a named entity (i.e., individual or organization) or as a standalone “entity-attribute”.
Since day one, parametrization is the DNA of Screena API. For instance, detection thresholds and algorithms can be configured per jurisdiction, per transaction, or per payment element. This level of flexibility is instrumental in applying the guiding principles on sanctions compliance as endorsed by the Payments Market Practice Group and the Wolfsberg Group, all while ensuring financial institutions’ strategy for screening ISO 20022 payments is in line with their risk appetite.
With Screena v2.1, our entity-matching algorithm embeds a new option to exclude matches for specific entity types and thus prevent irrelevant matches such as those of individuals or organizations with vessels.
And that’s not all. Screena v2.1 now comes with an option to activate or deactivate delta screening on demand, with all required granularity. If you are not yet familiar with it, Delta Screening avoids periodically regenerating the same hits. As a result, once a set of source records has been screened against your target lists, only deltas are considered, either in source or in target record sets. Here again, the parametrization of Delta Screening can be done for each distinct business component of a single transaction.
New and Deprecated Fields
Let’s end up with a notice for product teams as the field
lastChecked of Screena API will soon be deprecated. It is now replaced by
This field is used to manage deltas in Periodic Screening. It is returned as an informative attribute under the response of the following endpoints:
- Browsing Records [
- Searching Datasets [
- Integrating Search Engines [
- Getting Match Results [
It can also be sent as a query parameter under the request of the endpoint Browsing Records [
lastChecked will be materially disabled on April 1st, 2022. Please make sure your mappings are updated before the end of the notice period.
Last but not least, here is a recap of the new fields and objects Screena v2.1 ships with:
fullAddress: new attribute of Location Object
narrative: new attribute of Data Objects
identityDocuments: new Identity Document Object
contactInformation: new Contact Information Object
additionalInformation: new attribute of Data Objects
digitalCurrencies: new Digital Currency Object
digitalCurrencyAlgo: new Algorithm Object
bic: new attribute of Data Objects
bicAlgo: new Algorithm Object
exclude: new attribute of Algorithm Object
normalized: new attribute of Algorithm Object
lastMatch: new Algorithm Object used with Delta Screening (note: contact [email protected] to learn how to set up Delta Screening for your Screena Firm subscription)
Please visit developer.screena.ai to access our detailed API documentation. You can also reach out to [email protected] if you wish to share your thoughts, or find out how you can integrate any updates introduced in Screena v2.1.
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