Australian bank CBA admits to multiple money laundering failings
13 Dec 2017

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has admitted to a number of compliance failings brought against it by regulator Austrac, but denied it was guilty of all the accusations.

CBA landed in trouble after it emerged criminals and terror financiers had used its intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) to funnel illicit cash flows.

In a statement on Wednesday, CBA agreed it was late in filing around 50,000 threshold transaction reports (TTRs), which it blamed on a single systems-related error, and also said it did not monitor transactions sufficiently.

It also admitted that it did not adequately adhere to risk assessment requirements for IDMs , however it denied that this had amounted to other separate contraventions. CBA also denied some allegations pertaining to customer due diligence requirements.

“We take our anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) obligations extremely seriously. We deeply regret any failure to comply with these obligations,” the bank said.

It had had already submitted millions of reports, including TTRs and suspicious matter reports (SMRs), and had invested over $400 million on AML/CTF compliance over the past eight years.

“[CBA has added] new controls such as using enhanced digital electronic customer verification processes to supplement face-to-face identification to reduce the risk of document fraud … and recently introduced daily limits for IDMs deposits for CBA cards associated with a personal account,” the statement explained.

CBA’s announcement comes about four months after Austrac initiated civil penalty proceedings against it regarding “serious and systemic non-compliance” with the country’s AML/CFT rules.

It said CBA had failed to carry out AML/CFT risk assessments of IDMs before their rollout and that it had also not taken any steps to assess the ML/TF risk until three years after they were introduced.

The regulator also said CBA had failed to comply with the requirements of its AML/CTF program relating to monitoring transactions on around 780,000 accounts.

Related topics:

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank faces second regulatory probe

AML going south? Money laundering and “non-financial businesses and professions” in Australia

Australia: new accountability regime BEAR seeks to shakeup banking sector

Photo: Alex Proimos from Sydney, Australia [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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