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Message tracking tech takes off as unauthorized communication fines for the biggest banks could swell to $1 billion

As banks face a rash of fines (or firings) for unauthorized employee communication, they are choosing to shell out for tech tools to monitor popular chat apps like WhatsApp instead of stopping workers from using them.   

Q2 earnings brought a spate of new probe disclosures from big banks: Regulators are likely to extract a combined $1 billion in fines from Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America for failing to monitor all employee messaging.  

As a result, tech firms that provide comprehensive, compliant communications coverage across all the channels employees flock to are in higher demand than ever: SteelEye has seen a 255% increase in visits to its communications monitoring pages in the last six months and a 30% uptick in inbound requests, it told Insights Distilled, while Movius made news for signing on Deutsche Bank as regulators increase their levels of security.   

“Employees want to communicate in ways they are most comfortable—voice, text, WhatsApp, and Microsoft Teams. It’s about choices,” Movius CEO Ananth Siva told Insights Distilled. “Now employees no longer need to carry two phones.” 

SteelEye said that “a number of global banks” use its platform, as does Fidelity International, while Movius counts JPMorgan, UBS, Jefferies, and Shanghai Pudong Bank as customers (and the latter went from realizing its need to deploying the tool in just 15 days).

Meanwhile, a firm called Txtsmarter claims to be the only communications surveillance firm that can seamlessly monitor Apple’s iMessage.