Facebook Risks Banking Ties Over Libra Concerns, Says ING Exec

ING CEO Ralph Hamers said Libra could make it difficult for banks to accept or keep the project's creator as a client.

AccessTimeIconOct 22, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 11:36 a.m. UTC
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An ING executive warned banks may drop Facebook as a customer if the social media giant continues with its experimental foray into cryptocurrency without addressing regulatory concerns.

In an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday, CEO Ralph Hamers said the Libra project’s unresolved regulatory issues place a degree of risk on banks, as “gatekeeper[s] to the financial system.”

Hamers said the potential for Libra users to evade anti-money laundering standards and facilitate "financial... crime" raises questions for banks to “take measures and exit the client, or not accept the client.” Adding, “[T]hose are discussions you would have to have.”

In recent weeks, several prominent payments operators – including Visa, Stripe and Mastercard – have exited the non-binding letter of intent to join the Libra Association. However, Hamer’s statement today, is the first signal Libra’s regulatory risks speak to the project's lead Facebook as a bankable client.

A Facebook spokesperson said:

“From the beginning, we’ve said we’re committed to taking the time to get this right. The Libra Association published a white paper to begin a dialogue with the regulators and policymakers who oversee the stability and security of our financial systems. As a member of the Libra Association, we will continue to be a part of this dialogue to ensure that this global financial infrastructure is governed in a way that is reflective of the people it serves. Facebook will not offer Libra through its Calibra wallet until the Association has fully addressed regulators’ concerns and received appropriate approvals.”

“We are such a large, regulated institution that you don’t want to risk anything,” said Hamers. “We’ve said we’ll take a look and see how this develops.”

ING photo via Shutterstock

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