The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked the banks and other financial firms to leverage new technologies to address cyber crimes such as phishing and identity theft.

FCA director of supervision – investment, wholesale and specialist Megan Butler said this while she was speaking at the watchdog’s Cross-border Anti-Money Laundering TechSprint.

The regulator published key findings from its first annual financial crime review that surveyed more than 2,100 regulated entities last year, reported Reuters.

It found that banks and other associated financial units have rejected more than a million new customers and removed around 370,000 existing ones citing financial crime concerns.

Butler added that Cybercrime amounts to nearly half of total crimes recorded in Britain.

The study revealed that the banks now spend nearly £5bn to prevent financial crimes, which is £1bn more compared to the national prison budget.

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The financial entities have sent 2,117 terrorism-related reports to the National Crime Agency, as well as 13,000 restraint orders to freeze customer accounts.

During the 12-month survey period, the bank employees raised around 920,000 internal suspicious activity reports.

Butler noted that most of the banks have a tendency to hire investigators to manually verify large and risky transactions.

She opined that instead of employing investigators and avoiding risks, the firms should work on deploying new technology.

Butler also urged the firms to share methods, opinion and new technologies with FCA to address the threats of cyber crimes.