Money laundering: the Postal Bank hunts for cash

Change of gear at the Postal Bank. The La Poste group subsidiary now limits the amounts and terms of cash payments made at the counter to postal checking accounts (CCP) and passbooks A. This concerns 10.3 million of its customers and nearly 17,000 points of contact integrated into post offices. The goal? Better fight money laundering.

Since Monday, any cash payment less than or equal to € 1,500 accumulated over thirty days must be the subject of a “declaration of the origin of the funds” in addition to the identity document hitherto necessary. Even more strictly framed, cash payments between € 1,501 and € 10,000 over thirty rolling days must be accompanied by a “proof of the origin of the funds”, a “supporting document” such as an “invoice, notarized letter in the case of an inheritance… ”. As for payments over € 10,000 over a month, they are simply no longer authorized.

Other size restrictions for individuals, cash payments over € 1,500 can no longer be made by an agent but only by the account holder or his legal representative. And no more question of depositing this cash in different post offices, only the one where the customer’s account is domiciled can receive large sums.

Strengthen the fight against traffic-related deposits

“These new thresholds allow us to better control the risks of fraud and to strengthen our fight,” said one at the Postal Bank, adding that the new account agreements will soon be sent to customers. In other words, it is a question for La Banque Postale of better combating recurring deposits of cash linked to traffic (drugs, theft, etc.) in certain sensitive areas. The very strict regulations have just been reinforced by an ordinance published in the Official Journal.

The Monetary and Financial Code obliges banks to “be constantly vigilant” and to practice “a careful examination of the operations carried out while ensuring that they are consistent with the updated knowledge” that they have of their customers. Clearly, it is their responsibility to inform themselves of the origin of any amount of cash deposited which they consider suspicious. And La Banque Postale knows something about it.

His appeal to the Council of State against a sanction imposed by the Supervisory Authority and Resolution (ACPR) was rejected last year. As a result, the Postal Bank was fined 50 million euros for failing to comply with its vigilance obligation in a dark case of transfers by cash orders for the benefit of people with frozen assets.

1.3 million customers at the counters every day

This episode left a bitter mark on Banque Postale, which likes to recall its social role. Among its customers, 1.5 million people have had difficulty accessing a bank account in the past and 1.6 million are considered fragile. The network claims to be one of the last to allow cash deposits at the counters. Beyond the fight against money laundering, the Postal Bank may want to “encourage individuals to deposit their cash at the machine,” said an agent met on Monday. And thus limit the number of branches: 1, 3 million people push the door of a post office in France every day.

As for the control of deposits by automated teller machine, “they will be done a posteriori according to the usual behavior of the customer”, assures the bank, ready to alert Tracfin, the service in charge of the fight against fraud, in case of suspicion.

How to use your cash well

Unless specific regulations of your bank, its agencies are supposed to accept your cash (notes and possibly coins), according to the guide of the French Banking Federation (FBF). There is no limit for cash payments. However, the bank is entitled to ask you to justify the source of funds in the context of the fight against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Also note that it is now prohibited for any person (natural or legal) domiciled in France to settle in cash an amount of more than € 1,000 between professionals as between professionals and individuals. In the case of a transaction between individuals, it is therefore possible to pay the full amount, whatever the amount, in cash but remember to formalize the sale in writing to be able to protect yourself and justify the collection with your banker. In the Tax Centers, cash payments are capped at € 300.

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