ANZ and Westpac CEOs both claim to be compliant with anti-money laundering regulations in their House of Representatives opening statements.

By Joe McDonough


Posted on October 11, 2017

ANZ says money moving regulator AUSTRAC has cleared it of any money laundering breaches through its ATMs.

Speaking at the House of Representatives Economics Standing Committee (HRESC) today, ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott was succinct when addressing anti-money laundering.

“AUSTRAC has advised us that it has found no evidence of non-compliance concerning ANZ’s ATMs,” he said at the end of his opening statement.

AUSTRAC has advised us that it has found no evidence of non-compliance concerning ANZ’s ATMs

“Action against financial crime is in everyone’s interests,” he continued. “ANZ works closely with Government to detect and disrupt those who seek to break our laws.

“It is our responsibility to ensure we only open accounts for people we know and trust. We also need to report cash transactions of $10,000 or more, all international funds transfers and any matters that raise concern… Each year, we report millions of transactions to AUSTRAC.”

Mr Elliott was fronting the HRESC as part of an ongoing review of the big four banks. He followed Westpac’s CEO Brian Hartzer, who spoke earlier in the day, while CBA and NAB will front the committee on October 20.

Westpac

Westpac is also confident it is complying with anti-money laundering regulations.

In his address to the HRESC this morning in Canberra, Mr Hartzer pointed to risk assessments, computer analysis and constant interaction with regulators to explain how the bank was holding “clever” criminals at bay.

“The issue of money laundering is a very serious issue, it is a real scourge on society and it’s a challenge for the whole economy,” he said.

“Criminals are very clever and are constantly trying to find new ways to launder their cash.”

Through its own risk assessment, Westpac has reportedly put a limit of $4000 on deposits made through ATMs — just a fifth of CBA’s $20,000 limit.

Mr Hartzer also said that the bank was working with its internal security team and regulators to monitor patterns in transactions and safeguard against corruption.

This comes in the wake of CBA’s alleged breaches, which has seen class-action specialists Maurice Blackburn file a suit against the bank in the federal court on an open basis.

CBA chief executive Ian Narev raised comparisons with other banks on Sunday when he told The Australian Financial Review, “You know any CEO of a major bank anywhere in the world who says they definitely don’t have any problems with financial claims compliance would be a very bold CEO.”

The Turnbull government opted for this HRESC format over a Royal Commission, which was being called for by opposition parties. The big banks first addressed the HRESC in October last year.