ANZ reveals AML systems review, says it's clean

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ANZ reveals AML systems review, says it's clean

After shareholder questions.

The ANZ Group has gone on the front foot to calm jitters it could be next in line for AUSTRAC’s kiss of executive death, revealing it has already rolled its own probe into transactional systems used to transfer money.

But the bank says the checks it has run have so far come up clean, a statement clearly aimed at reassuring investors and stakeholders concerned it might follow Westpac down the breach disclosure path because of technology and governance failings.

Like Westpac, ANZ runs the Hogan mainframe-based core banking platform, now owned by DXC, to process batched transactions from customer accounts, the area where Westpac ran into serious bother because of monitoring failures.  

iTnews this week revealed ANZ is also building a new banking platform dubbed ANZx as one of a number of transformations it has in train.

In a pre-emptive statement to the Australian Securities Exchange on Wednesday, ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally said the bank was taking its anti-money laundering obligations “incredibly seriously”.

“Given recent issues identified by AUSTRAC within the industry, we have been reviewing the systems and processes we use to transfer money to ensure we are reporting the information required by regulators. While the review is ongoing, it has found no material issues to date,” Corbally said.

In the same statement ANZ said that it had “confirmed it is not aware of any impending litigation from AUSTRAC”.

“ANZ has been working with AUSTRAC, law enforcement and the broader industry to detect, prevent and disrupt serious financial crimes. This includes money laundering, terrorism, human trafficking, tax evasion and child exploitation,” Corbally said.

A heavy adopter of Agile and DevOps, ANZ’s chief executive Shayne Elliot this year paused  the expansion of ANZ’s highly publicised Agile program being led by former Google chief Maile Carnegie so the bank could catch-up.

Both Westpac and ANZ have to date also maintained they can continue to transform their enterprises running Hogan, despite peer Suncorp unsuccessfully trying to rid itself of the platform in favour of Oracle.

Meanwhile, the removal of bank chiefs and emergency spending on compliance tech rehab programs continues.

Aside from necking its chief executive and chairman yesterday, Westpac over the last few days revealed it is throwing another $25 million at its broken transaction monitoring systems to expedite fixes.

AUSTRAC’s statement of claim against Westpac details a litany of technology failures that went unaddressed for years, culminating in a whopping 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering (AML) regulations.

With two of Australia’s Big Four banks – CBA and Westpac – removing their heads over AML IT system disasters that put them in breach of the law, and NAB also having removed its CEO and chairman after the Royal Commission, ANZ remains the last major bank with its executive committee intact.

That escape, whether fortuitous or by way of rugged governance, clearly had investors pondering its place in the regulatory pecking order.

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