Company that creates international banking software makes a home in Franklin
Frank Cummings is the CEO of AML Partners in Franklin. The company specializes in creating software for banks to comply with anti money laundering laws. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor Staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »
Inside offices on Canal Street in Franklin, about a dozen local technology wizards have been working on software that monitors compliance with federal banking rules and is used by some of the world’s largest banks to keep them from preventing major financial crimes.
AML Partners LLC, originally based in New Jersey, moved to Franklin earlier this year and is working on making that location its headquarters. The company was founded by Frank Cummings and Jonathan Almeida. The company started as a consulting firm, but has moved into the realm of software – essentially creating a software that functions as a consultant would. The company still has offices in New Jersey, but is looking to make a full transition of employees by next year.
Cummings moved to Salisbury in 2009, and thought New Hampshire would be a good location for his company. Making the transition from consulting to software means you don’t have to be near your clients, and the colleges around the area such as New Hampshire Technical Institute make it the perfect place to find sharp tech minds to help build the software, he said. Right now the Franklin office has 11 employees, most of whom are NHTI graduates, and Cummings is hoping to expand to 25 or 30 within the next year.
AML builds software programs for primarily international banks, that help them comply with myriad federal laws such as the Bank Secrecy Act and the Patriot Act.
Cummings spoke with the Monitor about the company and its products.
What products do you offer?
We have several software products, but we have one product that we call our flagship product: SURETY CDD, and that (stands for) customer due diligence. (It) essentially allows our customers to collect any piece of info any way they want on their prospective customers and determine the risk that customer presents in performing illicit activity.
What kind of software is this?
It’s called compliance software, that’s the industry group that it’s in. (Our customers) want to make sure they comply with the laws and the rules of the U.S. government. . . . They want to make sure you’re a real company, they want to (see) who has access to the account, they want to make sure where you’re conducting business, they want to make sure you’re not conducting business with who you’re not supposed to be conducting business with.
Why do businesses need this?
On the international side and the commercial side it’s extremely complex for the business to make sure they’re not doing business with the Mexican cartels or the terrorists overseas. The software allows them to collect all that info and do what’s called screening and risk assessment of those customers, so they know who they’re doing business with.
How many clients do you have?
Thirty-two international banks right now.
Who do you employ?
We essentially raided the community colleges, NHTI to be exact. We’re looking for very specific programming languages, we’re called a ‘Microsoft shop’ so it’s the Microsoft language program and databases. The schools around here, it’s one of the reasons we moved here. 1. There’s a lot of them and 2. They’re pretty good.
How is the new location working out?
This is a perfect location for us, purely because our employees are from all over central and southern New Hampshire so it’s a great place. We’ve got people from the top of Central New Hampshire all the way down to Nashua.
What other products do you have besides SURETY?
Our other product is FATCA (which works with) the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act.
What does that do?
Most people don’t know but the U.S. has passed a law that told every foreign country that wants to do any business with us that they must report to the
IRS every U.S. person
that they have in their bank based on certain limits of money. Essen-tially you can’t hide money in offshore tax shelters anymore. The law was passed in 2010 and will be fully implemented by 2016. We wrote a software package to allow the foreign banks to comply and feed their information of course directly into our product SURETY.
How unique is your product?
We have “competitors.” We call them “competitors” because we’re at 100 percent sales right now, meaning every single institution that has seen our software has either purchased it or put it in the budget to purchase next year.
Do a lot of banks break these rules?
It’s not very common that these (banks) actually try to do these transactions anymore. Back in 2001, 2002 it was pretty prevalent and a lot of people were being caught. The federal government has put some pretty stringent rules in place, the software just helps them (follow the rules). So if they type in someone’s name into our system, it automatically goes out and checks them, right there it goes out to see if they are or they aren’t on the “bad persons” list.
How do you build the software to know who the “bad people” are?
Since we were doing consulting in this area first, that’s how we began to understand all of the different requirements; the requirements change or are added to every year. They get more and more stringent, so we’re constantly having to update. The government says “Here’s the rules, go put internal controls in place to abide by the rules.” What we do is we understand the rules so we put our software in place to comply with the rules.