Two of the Nordics’ biggest banks, Nordea and Danske Bank, are putting banker compliance jobs at risk as part of their shift to robotics and artificial intelligence (AI).

Both the banks are seeking to significantly decrease the number of staff employed in the compliance and financial crime departments.

The move, which was reported by Bloomberg, follows a recent hiring spree by both the banks to build compliance.

However, Nordea and Danske Bank have said that the extra headcount is temporary and will be reduced because of the significant use of robotics and AI technology.

Currently, hundreds of employees at Nordea Bank Abp scrutinize billions of potentially criminal transactions, of which 20% of suspicious alerts are handled by algorithms, based on machine learning. The remaining alerts are still being handled by humans.

Nordea’s head of financial crime prevention Mikael Bjertrup is seeking to reverse the ratio of manual handling of transactions monitoring so that majority (80%) are managed by algorithms.

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Bjertrup told Bloomberg, “We’ll be fewer people in the future, but our defense will be better. “We won’t need as many as 1,500 employees in the future, as technology improves.”

Dankse Bank head of compliance Philippe Vollot said that he expects headcount to be scaled back once the technology kicks in.

Vollot told Bloomberg his experience shows that “you always go through a point where you need actually to add a lot of resources because you don’t have yet the technology to support you.”

Vollot noted that once the technology matures, the bank will benefit from proper systems, algorithms, scenarios, case management platforms and ultimately AI and robotics. “And usually this is the phase where you start to reduce the number of people you need,” he said.

Dankse Bank, which employs 20,683 people, is present in 16 countries with 2.8 million personal and business customers.

Nordea is claimed to be the largest bank in the Nordic region and among the ten largest financial groups in Europe in terms of total market capitalisation with about 10 million customers.