Wim Mijs, CEO , EBF – Interview with the Dutch Compliance Institute
Originally published in Dutch by Helene de Bruin
Brussels, 1 July 2020.
The timing of the interview with Wim Mijs, Chief Executive Officer of the European Banking Federation could not be better. During the interview, the European Commission is at this moment examining the EBF’s report Lifting the Spell of Dirty Money. Together with Mr Mijs, we look back on, and ahead, to see the development of the compliance profession and the efforts to ban criminal money from the financial system. “With risk-averse behaviour, you also report harmless parties and thereby clog up the system. It can and must be done differently.”
You have been CEO of the European Banking Federation since 2014. How did you experience the switch from the NVB to the EBF?
“It felt natural for a number of reasons. After all, I had already worked for ABN Amro in Brussels for five years. And two years before my move to the EBF, I was appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee. When the position of Chief Executive Officer of the EBF became vacant, I was asked to apply. By then I knew the organisation quite well. This said, it is quite different when you actually start working for an organisation. What mainly changed for me was the role that the different cultures played. If you are in a national association, you are dealing with the directors of the banks. That entails close contact, and one where personalities come out very strongly. At the EBF you deal with different countries; there, I noticed and still notice, that cultures play a strong role. One must learn to deal with that, dare to play with it – which I really enjoy! – as well as being able to use it to take the sharp edges off a discussion or to settle a disagreement; for
example, by simply asking: “Are we dealing with a cultural element at the moment?”
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