The case of bunq vs. DNB: effectivity vs. dogma

A message from our CEO and founder, Ali Niknam

18 October 2022

Dear bunq users,

Today, October 18, 2022, bunq won a historic court case against the Dutch Central Bank (DNB) on the use of modern technology in the fight against money laundering. The Dutch court ruled firmly in favor of our technology-driven philosophy.

The direct result of this ruling paves the way for progress that will make banking safer for everyone. It enables broader cooperation between the financial industry and online players, as effectively tackling fraud can only be done if these work together. I’d like to celebrate this moment with you, and thank you for your continued support throughout the years.

From the very beginning, we founded bunq to challenge what banking is and what it could be. And from the get-go, we were supported by users such as yourself, who shared our belief that banking could and should be easy, diverse and transparent.

Along the way we’ve had many firsts, and today marks yet another milestone for the history books.

Here’s what happened:

Being innovators at heart, we’ve always argued for more effective ways to combat fraud and money laundering. The stability of the banking system depends on it. Our engineers built risk-based methods and incorporated advanced technology based on Artificial Intelligence to combat fraud smarter and more efficiently.

For the longest time, the Dutch National Bank (DNB) rejected our methods, instead forcing us to adhere to their antiquated approach, to “do as they say”. Fraud detection at traditional banks kept relying on questionnaires that boiled down to asking people ‘Are you a fraudster?’

It would have been easier to follow the DNB’s rule-based approach, putting the safety of you, your money and that of the entire banking system, at increased risk. We were however keenly aware of the long term consequences DNB’s methods would have.

So we decided to take DNB to court.

This was an unprecedented step - none of the traditional players has ever dared taking such a move. It was also a true David vs. Goliath case: with Idzard and Quirijn doing all the work on our side facing an endless supply of DNB lawyers opposing them.

I’m incredibly happy to see that the Dutch court recognizes the importance of the innovation we bring to a centuries-old industry. Its decision paves the way for industry-wide progress and opens the door to a safer financial sector.

Thank you for your support for the past 4 (!) years that it took us to get here,

Cheers to you!

Ali

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