Recommendation 13: Correspondent banking

Financial institutions should be required, in relation to cross-border correspondent banking and other similar relationships, in addition to performing normal customer due diligence measures, to:

(a) gather sufficient information about a respondent institution to understand fully the nature of the respondent’s business and to determine from publicly available information the reputation of the institution and the quality of supervision, including whether it has been subject to a money laundering or terrorist financing investigation or regulatory action;

(b) assess the respondent institution’s AML/CFT controls;

(c) obtain approval from senior management before establishing new correspondent relationships;

(d) clearly understand the respective responsibilities of each institution; and

(e) with respect to “payable-through accounts”, be satisfied that the respondent bank has conducted CDD on the customers having direct access to accounts of the correspondent bank, and that it is able to provide relevant CDD information upon request to the correspondent bank.

Financial institutions should be prohibited from entering into, or continuing, a correspondent banking relationship with shell banks. Financial institutions should be required to satisfy themselves that respondent institutions do not permit their accounts to be used by shell banks.


The similar relationships to which financial institutions should apply criteria (a) to (e) include, for example those established for securities transactions or funds transfers, whether for the cross-border financial institution as principal or for its customers.

The term payable-through accounts refers to correspondent accounts that are used directly by third parties to transact business on their own behalf.