According to research published recently by Fitch, lapses in AML and financial crimes controls are more likely to affect a banks' credit rating than almost any other nonfinancial factor.
“Financial crimes compliance lapses can be serious, material and can drive credit ratings,” Monsur Hussain, senior director in the financial institutions group at Fitch, said in an interview. Anti-money-laundering controls are playing a bigger role in credit ratings because regulators across the globe are cracking down on banks with weak controls, Mr. Hussain said. “We see a pattern of supervisory activity and muscular enforcement in Western Europe and in Asia,” Mr. Hussain said. He added that U.S. regulators have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to money-laundering regulations, and banks have largely adhered.