Commonwealth Bank CEO Ian Narev says he’s focused on doing his job and has no intention of stepping down after revelations that criminals had been using CBA deposit facilities to hundreds of millions of dollars.
On Thursday, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre accused the Commonwealth Bank of failing to deal with suspiciously large and repeated cash deposits worth more than $500 million into its new smart ATM network, in breach of money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing laws.
In comments to The Australian, Narev said despite the “little goodwill for banks in general, and for CBA in particular” he is “very confident that the underlying causes here are very different from the other issues which have happened”.
Narev, who has faced rising questions over whether he can keep his job, said in comments to The Australian: “Right now, I’m focused on doing my job and am not spending any time on thinking about my own position.”
The bank has also issued a statement this morning saying it was co-operating with authorities and saying that the problems with the deposit facilities which enabled the vast volumes of money-laundering by criminals had been fixed. The bank said:
There has already been extensive public discussion and because of the complexity of the matter, some facts are worth clarifying.
Our Intelligent Deposit Machines (IDMs) are now providing the correct Threshold Transaction Reports (TTRs) to AUSTRAC, and have been since September 2015.
When we first rolled out these machines in May 2012, they were providing all the correct TTR reporting. The issue began after an unrelated software update to the IDMs in late 2012. Following the software update, a coding error occurred which meant the IDMs did not create the TTRs needed. This error became apparent in 2015 and within a month of discovering it, we notified AUSTRAC, delivered the missing TTRs and fixed the coding issue. The vast majority of the reporting failures alleged in the statement of claim (approximately 53,000) relate specifically to this coding error. We recognise that there are other serious allegations in the claim unrelated to the TTRs.
In an organisation as large as Commonwealth Bank, mistakes can be made. We know that because we are a big organisation, these mistakes can have significant impact.
Narev said he would deliver the bank’s results on Wednesday.
“I am enjoying my job and fully committed, but I understand no CEO stays in the position forever.”
The CBA is expected to deliver a cash profit of $9.8 billion, up slightly from last year.
Narev told The Australian that the Austrac charges were “not an acceptable position” and that the CBA planned to file a defence.
“There will be some disagreement of facts but we will work through these with Austrac,” he said.
“The bank and the board will undoubtedly have more to say about this in the future.”
He also said he recognised the public interest in financial bonuses being skimmed in the wake of the charges.
CBA’s share price fell by 4 per cent in Friday trade.
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