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Latino Trailblazer

Herb Mazariegos

  • Gender: Male
  • University: Saint Francis College
  • Organization: BMO Financial Group
  • Position Title: Chief AML Officer

After graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, Herb Mazariegos began a career in finance, working in global custody and agent bank operations at Bankers Trust. Three years later, he transitioned into a role at Bank of America, where his endeavors would make him a leading figure in the bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) and other financial crime-fighting efforts.

The events of September 11, 2001, profoundly shaped the trajectory of his career. He lost several colleagues in the attacks on the World Trade Center, and, as he explained in an interview with Hispanic Executive, the tragedy gave new urgency to his perspectives on AML. “At that point, I realized the importance of what having an AML program meant, not only for banks, but for our families and communities,” he said, adding that it became clear to him that “the framework for detecting money laundering was similar to the framework” used to identify other illicit activities. As a result, he focused his efforts on strengthening the bank’s AML program by focusing on overhauling related technology solutions, while developing people and process strategies.”

He spent the next decade in various AML and financial compliance-related roles at Bank of America, ultimately serving as the director and senior compliance executive of global financial crimes. A leader in AML at BMO Harris Bank, a Fortune Global 500 company, who heard Herb speak at a conference about his work in the financial crimes field, offered him a senior role at that institution. He accepted, and today, serves as the Chief AML Officer at BMO Financial Group, where he is responsible for global BSA [Bank Secrecy Act compliance] and AML sanctions programs.

Herb also serves as the executive sponsor of the GenBMO Employee Resource Group—a multi-generational group focused on personal and professional development, and collaboration on programs aimed at fostering bank growth.

Outside of work, he is a member of the board for Arrupe College of Loyola University Chicago. Arrupe College is a two-year institution, and many of its students are the first in their family to pursue higher education. The college seeks to make education affordable and to provide “care for the whole person,” while preparing students to go on to earn a bachelor’s degree or secure “meaningful employment.”