Customer Due Diligence (CDD): The Foundation of KYC in Banking

Customer Due Diligence (CDD): The Foundation of KYC in Banking

In today's increasingly digital banking landscape, ensuring the legitimacy of customers is crucial. This is where Customer Due Diligence (CDD) comes in. CDD forms the essential foundation of Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations, which are a global standard for banks to verify their clients' identities and assess potential risks.

What is CDD?

CDD is a process that banks undertake to gather and verify basic information about their customers. This information helps banks:

  • Identify customers: CDD ensures that customers are who they say they are and not imposters.
  • Understand ownership structure: In the case of businesses, CDD helps identify the beneficial owners who ultimately control the entity.
  • Assess risks: By understanding a customer's background and activities, banks can evaluate their money laundering and terrorist financing risks.

What information is collected during CDD?

The specific information collected during CDD can vary depending on the bank's internal policies and the customer's risk profile. However, it typically includes:

  • Individual customer: For individual accounts, banks will collect basic identification documents like passports, driver's licenses, or national identity cards. They may also ask for proof of address and information about the source of income and wealth.
  • Business customer: For businesses, CDD involves collecting information about the company's registration documents, ownership structure, business activities, and beneficial owners.

Why is CDD important?

CDD plays a critical role in safeguarding banks and the financial system from various threats:

  • Money Laundering: Criminals often try to launder illegal funds through the banking system. CDD helps banks identify suspicious activity and prevent money laundering.
  • Terrorist Financing: Banks also need to ensure that their services are not misused to finance terrorism. CDD helps mitigate this risk.
  • Fraud: CDD can also help banks detect and prevent fraudulent account openings.

Beyond the Basics: Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)

For certain high-risk customers, banks may need to conduct a more in-depth investigation known as Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD). EDD involves collecting additional information and applying stricter verification procedures. This applies to customers like Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs), high-net-worth individuals, and those from high-risk countries.


CDD is a cornerstone of KYC compliance in banking. By implementing robust CDD practices, banks can build trust with their customers, protect themselves from financial crime, and contribute to a safer financial system.

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