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Piles of Dirty Money Have Europe’s Banks Racing to Keep Up

Lenders are facing a labor crunch as they automate the fight against ill-gotten funds.
Rabobank Group’s money laundering investigation facility in Zeist, Netherlands.

Rabobank Group’s money laundering investigation facility in Zeist, Netherlands.

Photographer: Jasper Juinen/Bloomberg

For decades, increasing reliance on technology and automation has meant one thing for workers: fewer jobs. In a fast-growing corner of the finance industry, it’s doing the opposite as banks across Europe struggle to fill positions in units employing tech to combat money laundering.

Reeling from a litany of scandals and more than $20 billion in fines since 2012, lenders are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to ferret out miscreants seeking to obscure the origin of ill-gotten cash. But that technology coughs up so much data that banks must hire legions of workers to sort through it all and separate the scoundrels from the scrupulous.