Barclays latest bank to make provision for US WhatsApp fine

Aug 4th '22

  • British lender said it’s booking a $200 million charge
  • Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank also took charges


European banks are counting the cost of their employees’ messaging habits, which have caught the attention of US regulators in a global investigation.


Barclays Plc said in second-quarter results Thursday that it has reached an agreement with US regulators to pay a $200 million penalty in connection to a probe into business communications by employees “over electronic messaging channels that had not been approved by the bank.” The proposed resolution will see Barclays pay a $125m penalty to the Securities and Exchange Commission and a $75m fine to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.


Bloomberg has reported the bank was working with US regulators in relation to the investigation.


The British lender’s disclosure comes after Credit Suisse AG announced a $200 million charge in its earnings. Deutsche Bank AG increased its regulatory enforcement provisions by 165 million euros ($167 million), which it said covered issues including the probe on unapproved devices and record-keeping requirements.


The German lender is rolling out new software on corporate mobile phones that archives WhatsApp messages, while members of the management board have agreed to pay cuts of about 75,000 euros each as they take responsibility for the widespread use of unapproved messaging among staff, Bloomberg has reported.


UBS Group AG also confirmed it was cooperating with US authorities.


The finance industry has long prohibited staff from doing business on non-approved platforms in order to comply with record-keeping rules, yet regulators have found multiple examples of employees communicating on personal accounts. HSBC Holdings Plc, which said in February it was part of the US probe, recently fired a trader in London after scrutinizing the personal mobile phones of some staff.


Regulators are poised to extract about $1 billion in fines from the five biggest US investment banks. JPMorgan Chase & Co. settled its case in December by agreeing to pay $200 million, while Morgan Stanley disclosed earlier this month that it expects to pay a similar amount. Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. are also preparing for penalties.


Source:  Bloomberg


This article was originally published in the on 27 July.




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