Combine genuine interest and analytical skills as a CDD analyst

Celeste Waanders - CDD Analyst

"Every file, every day, is totally different." When Celeste Waanders started at Rabobank 2.5 years ago, the KYC field was new to her. After studying law in college, she started a job in the legal sector, but soon found herself ready for a new challenge. She found that as a CDD analyst, where she researches Rabobank customers. "For me, it's all about the bigger picture. I am genuinely interested in the people and the stories behind the numbers. That helps me make the connections and understand financial constructs."

From wealth to virtual currency

“The best moment in my work? Those are the moments when I can form an overall picture of a file I’m working on. Sometimes this is easy, as with savings, inheritances and gifts. Those can often be easily explained. But there are also more complex files, financial schemes involving virtual currencies, real estate portfolios, and various obscure schemes to build wealth. I can sometimes spend weeks on that. Those challenging things are what I prefer to do.”

“The files I work on are always about natural persons, that is, real people. So I often get a glimpse into their financial housekeeping: where does the income come from, what are the expenses? And can these cash flows be explained? My work is a small link in the bigger picture of financial integrity, preventing money laundering, human trafficking financing or terrorism. All analysts contribute to that gatekeeper role.”

Celeste Waanders, CDD Analyst, having a conversation

Further in the field

“Recently, I made the switch from managing existing customers to onboarding new customers. The transition to a new team was very easy. You can specialise within CDD in so many ways; the field is developing rapidly. After two years, I wanted to learn new things again, but still about financial matters from real people. I can just relate to that better than to big business cases. After discussions with my old and new team lead, I now deal with files for customer onboarding.”

“Customer onboarding is all about potential new customers. Before anyone becomes a customer, there is always an integrity check. If this check shows an alarming signal, I may investigate that risk. I then request, for example, documents that explain the assets, check social media, the land registry and Chamber of Commerce. And finally I put the puzzle together: where do the money flows come from? Can we explain it?”

“New customers can come from anywhere, which is exactly what makes it so challenging. Sometimes a file involves prospects under budget management on which we do an additional check. Sometimes it involves a financing request where the customer also wants to open a checking account and bring in 700k, from the sale of a previous home. I then get in touch and find out if that’s true. That diversity is what makes my work interesting. ”

Writing and collaboration: learning on the job
Celeste Waanders - CDD Analist

Customers are not suspects

“As a CDD analyst, I regularly call or email customers to request statements or documentation. When I call now, people are happy to cooperate. After all, they want to become customers of Rabobank! This was sometimes more difficult at my previous position – not everyone is cooperative. Sometimes because they have something to hide, sometimes because they don’t understand why you want to know something. Explaining why you are investigating something, what the customer stands to gain from it and telling them what will happen helps tremendously. Good communication skills are indispensable in this field.”

“Just because we’re investigating you doesn’t mean you’re a suspect. We do this work to protect our customers as well; they might inadvertently participate in money laundering. We have a duty of care to be there for them. We need to make that clear. And if we do suspect that someone is involved in fraud, for example, we hand it over to colleagues in the Anti-Money Laundering team.”

Interested in working within Customer Due Diligence?

Celeste Waanders, CDD Analyst, at work

Writing and collaboration: learning on the job

“Decisive. Curious. Analytical. Those are the qualities a CDD analyst should possess. And you must be able to write well. How you put your findings on paper can really make a difference. After all, judgment is never left entirely up to you; there are always colleagues reading along.”

“You often work solo as a CDD analyst, but the result is a team effort. In this regard, the four-eye principle is very important. As soon as I know what the exact situation is, I carefully write it down and hand it over. We consult, look at it from different sides and review it together. Some colleagues have been working at the bank for 20 years; I learn a lot from them. But also from colleagues with different backgrounds. They bring another new perspective. And continuing education can be done through courses like OSINT, Open Source Intelligence. Here you learn to do public source research and how to use the dark web to your advantage. I’m starting this soon; really looking forward to specialising in that further.”

“For new employees, Rabobank has the KYC Campus where they prepare you for the real deal in just a few months. I think it is a good initiative and notice that the colleagues who attended the campus know what they are doing. My tip for new colleagues? Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. After all, that’s why we are a team.”

CDD is part of the KYC expertise