My bank on the phone.

Bank: you recently made an international payment.

Me: yes, which one?

Bank: the one to [organisation name] in Belgium.

Me: yes, that’s correct.

Bank: we haven’t made the payment yet, as the intended recipient’s description contains a term that is on our sanctions list.

Me: ????, which term?

Bank: asbl

Me: you mean the official french abbreviation for a non-profit association?

Bank: oh, ok, in that case we’ll proceed with the transfer.

Me: yes, please do.

You’d think that they would have a list of official abbreviations for various EU legal entities to avoid false positives….or have the capacity to google it.

2 reactions on “Bank Fraud Detection

    • I can imagine a scenario where there were multiple asbl’s flagged as being involved in dubious activities. Either directly (e.g. motor gangs) or indirectly, such as charities sending money to other institutions that ended up being suspected of nefarious things. Then all of a sudden you’re listed as a funder of such things. Now assuming they looked for commonalities in a list of flagged organisations, and hey presto asbl comes up. This might have been picked up in Belgium itself as not useful, but not in the Netherlands where, unlike surrounding countries, associations and non-profits don’t have an abbreviation attached to their name demarcating their legal entity type. That is only the case for companies (limiteds e.g.).

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