FRANKLIN — Walking into his office in the Franklin Business Center, Frank Cummings is stopped by one of his young employees, who is questioning a recent transaction that his company's software tracked on a client's database.
“What is that guy doing on that server?” Cummings asked. “He shouldn't have access to that server.”
The employee is one of 12 members on Cummings' staff — which is made up of New Hampshire Technical Institute graduates whose average age is 24 — who are programming software for AML Partners. The company has found a niche investigating and preventing illicit activities such as money laundering, fraud and financing for international terrorism.
The client is one of 32 international financial institutions in the United States and four other countries that AML Partners serves from its office in Franklin. The company's flagship product, SURETY, is software that uses a “behavioral risk management” system that allows companies to evaluate the risk of financial crimes for all new customers.
The package provides data storage and an analytical environment that enables institutions to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, Patriot Act, and other U.S. laws that arose after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Cummings said.
The software has been used by clients to stop more than one terrorist-funding incident from occurring in a client's database, he said.
“Before 9/11, you could literally open an account in a U.S. bank with just a number, without any other identifying information,” he said. “Everything is much more complex now. Now we can see every transaction right down to each keystroke. We are at the cutting edge of this technology, and the international community is getting on board as they realize they need to be more secure.”
SURETY monitors an institution's database for some simple patterns, and more complex ones that are typically used by criminals.
“It looks for red-flag behavior,” Cummings said. “In the case of terrorist financing, it can be as simple as transactions involving one person sending money to five people, or five people sending money to one person.”
The company did more than $1 million in software sales last year, mostly with overseas bankers who do business in the United States and internationally, Cummings said. The SURETY Suite costs $30,000 to $120,000, depending on how many parts of the suite the institution needs. The package comes with support, which means that Cummings and his staff will often jet to clients in the United States, Canada, Norway, Chile, and the Cayman Islands.
AML moved its software programming facility to Franklin in May from New Jersey because the Granite State was a more business-friendly state, Cummings said. Its consulting business remains in New Jersey.
The company was aided by the state's Division of Economic Development in relocating, he said.
Cummings, the cofounder of the company, moved to the state with the company and now lives in Salisbury. He says he's proud that his employees are “all New Hampshire born and bred.”
He found his programming staff at NHTI. “I basically raided their tech classes,” he said.
Cynthia Harrington of the state's Division of Economic Development, said Cummings called her from New York City five years ago seeking a place to relocate his business, and they worked together to make it happen.
“It shows our young people that you can work, play, and stay in New Hampshire,” Harrington said. “It helps our 'brain drain' problem of young people moving away for jobs. This is an example of how they can find jobs right here in our state.”