The news from Buffalo, New York is disturbing. HSBC has announced that it is closing its regional Anti-money Laundering Centre there, which reportedly had a staff of 77. Whilst the work that the centre performed is to be shifted to two other existing locations, a global financial institution should be expanding, not closing, its regional AML offices, if it wishes to stay a couple of steps of the money launderers in the area. Local AML/CFT professionals generally have knowledge of money laundering tactics and strategies, including tradecraft, specific to the area, which is on the US-Canadian border.
To make matters worse, a bank that has had its share of AML compliance deficiencies, should not be looking to cut costs in their compliance department. it may look good to the company's internal auditors, but any major AML failure could wipe out the cost savings when US regulators impose large fines & penalties.
HSBC, or any bank for that matter: you close an AML unit at your peril.