“We’ll be fewer people in the future, but our defense will be better,” says Mikael Bjertrup, head of Nordea’s financial crime prevention unit, to Bloomberg.

“We won’t need as many as 1,500 employees in the future, as technology improves.”

He describes that about 20 percent of his bank’s suspicion alerts are closed by algorithms, based on machine learning, with the remaining 80 percent still being handled by humans. He aims at getting the numbers reversed.

People cost

At Danske, the head of compliance Philippe Vollot also predicts a roll-back of the head count, once technology kicks in.

According to the Bloomberg article, labour stands for about three quarters of the costs of anti-money laundering compliance.