A Guide to Anti-Money Laundering for Crypto Firms

RealPage prevents financial crimes in near real-time

Transaction Monitoring DNFBP Customer Stories

As a leading global provider of software and data analytics to the real estate industry, RealPage provides a suite of cloud-based software that helps residential real estate owners and operators manage the tenant lifecycle, including applicant screening, online billing and payments, accounting, revenue management, and expenditure management.

The company processes approximately 100 million payment transactions per year across a portfolio of more than 19 million properties located throughout the U.S. As a payments provider, RealPage has an obligation to its banking partners, clients, and residents to monitor transactions processed through its payment services and to identify and reduce instances of fraud and other illicit activities.

The challenge

“The biggest challenge we have is keeping up with constantly growing levels of fraud. Just when you get used to certain patterns and volumes, they change again,” explains Blanca Rojas, Transaction Risk Manager at RealPage. The risks and typologies RealPage need to account for are driven by its atypical business model. For example, it has to screen across business-to-business and business-to-business-to-consumer relationships – both real estate firms and their customers – while also analyzing how money moves between them.

RealPage designed specific scenarios designed to capture illicit activities such as card testing fraud. However, the COVID-19 pandemic also introduced new fraud typologies that also had to be considered. As outlined in a FinCEN report (FIN-2021-NTC1) released on February 24, 2021, financial institutions, including payments companies, had to comply with reporting requirements on COVID-19 fraud activity. With such complex, fast-changing requirements, speed is essential. As a result, a reliance on manual reviews of customers and transactions would not deliver the scalability and efficiency RealPage requires.

The solution

While RealPage did engage in a “buy vs build” debate, the firm quickly made the decision to partner with an external vendor. “We felt it was important to work with a company that had expertise in transaction monitoring, could understand our regulatory requirements, and how to apply these to our unique business model,” explains Rojas.

ComplyAdvantage appealed to RealPage because its transaction monitoring client base extends beyond traditional financial institutions. “Other software providers we looked at just had generic scenarios that were geared towards traditional financial institutions, rather than payment companies. Our business model is different even to other payment providers,” said Rojas. “The flexibility to build custom scenarios was important for us. Many vendors do not have the same level of flexibility.”

During the implementation process, RealPage met with ComplyAdvantage’s development team to explore the best way to implement its unique rule set. This included the need to follow individuals across different properties and state jurisdictions, as well as identifying connected individuals. “One of the ComplyAdvantage developers suggested a way to achieve our rule objectives which was eye opening. It helped us to see our challenges in context,” Rojas noted.

Once live, the RealPage team worked with ComplyAdvantage to tune the logic of its rules, simplifying the number of data points they were screening. This included a range of above and below the line testing and assessing the potential impact of raising/lowering risk thresholds.

“I am seeing the activity in close to real-time – seconds. I have worked with different software providers at different institutions, and the rapid response to alerts is the biggest benefit I have seen.”

– Blanca Rojas, Transaction Risk Manager, RealPage

For Rojas, the biggest benefit of the ComplyAdvantage transaction monitoring platform is its near real-time capabilities. “I am seeing the activity in close to real-time – seconds. I have worked with different software providers at different institutions, and the rapid response to alerts is the biggest benefit I have seen.” This means RealPage can immediately review alert activity and act as necessary to prevent significant losses for its clients. Rojas’ team tracks cases and bad actors frequently and can see what they are able to achieve with the platform, and which rule sets are most effective at preventing illicit activity.

The case management functionalities in the transaction monitoring platform are also “streamlined and easy to use,” improving the efficiency of Rojas’ team and ensuring that all investigation documentation is properly logged and easily accessible.

Managing and triaging alerts effectively, escalating from junior analysts where necessary, is also seamless. “The dashboard reporting helps us to monitor the whole department so we can make sure alerts are cleared on time and we’re not getting behind on anything,” said Rojas. “The color coding means we can immediately see if there’s something that’s past due.”

Ongoing support provided by ComplyAdvantage’s customer success manager is critical. “She is hands-on, she has learned our system, and knows the ins and outs of RealPage’s business model. This means she can produce innovative ideas, communicate those to development, and explain why we need them,” said Rojas. Regular scheduled meetings enable the team to review issues and plan for new scenarios the team would like to implement. Quarterly success meetings provide RealPage with reporting on how its scenarios are performing, providing an external set of checks and balances on internal tests.

Next steps

RealPage is now working with ComplyAdvantage to ensure its transaction monitoring program scales with its rapidly growing business. The firm recently integrated a new segment of its business into the platform and is working with its customer success manager to assess next steps based on projected dollar and transaction volume amounts. Above all, Rojas says, we are “ensuring there’s room for growth, so the product can grow with us.”

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Originally published June 17, 2022, updated November 10, 2022

Disclaimer: This is for general information only. The information presented does not constitute legal advice. ComplyAdvantage accepts no responsibility for any information contained herein and disclaims and excludes any liability in respect of the contents or for action taken based on this information.

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