Homebuyer caught in $ 100,000 bank scam lashes out at ‘dismissive’ NAB
Complying with anti-money laundering laws and protecting customers from scams are expensive and growing tasks for big banks. Age and Sydney Morning Herald previously revealed that NAB is working on a massive internal project, dubbed Apollo, which involves examining millions of customer accounts to make sure credentials are up to date.
Those who worked on the project say NAB accounts are routinely found with customer details that have not been updated for over two decades. Inaccurate identity documents mean accounts are poorly assessed against risk, preventing the alerts needed to file suspicious transaction reports with the regulator, which are then passed on to law enforcement.
Project Apollo is part of NAB remediation efforts after financial intelligence agency AUSTRAC discovered systemic weaknesses in NAB’s processes to comply with anti-money laundering laws.
The NAB revealed in June that the regulator had stepped up its investigation into the bank’s anti-money laundering policies after finding “potential and serious non-compliance” with customer identification and due diligence continues from customers. The warning signal follows significant fines imposed on rivals CBA and Westpac totaling $ 2 billion in recent years for breaches of anti-money laundering laws.
The CEOs of the CBA and ANZ told a parliamentary committee last month that financial crime was one of the most pressing challenges facing the industry. “We have invested $ 1.2 billion, we have 2,000 people in the financial crime teams,” said CBA chief Matt Comyn. “Even after all of this, we’re not happy with where we are at and that’s a real area of focus. “
NAB chief executive Ross McEwan told the same committee that the bank is committed to meeting its legal obligations to prevent financial crime, after passionate questions from Liberal MP Julian Simmonds, and highlighted the extensive work carried out in the framework of the Apollo project.
However, NAB insiders say the technology is two decades old and its financial crime team has to juggle a number of tech systems to do its job, including U-Banks. The bank’s AML team are under pressure to overcome growing delays, and many fear that the stressed environment could allow criminals to slip through the cracks.
Mr Joseph was informed by the NAB cashier that the money was gone and that there was nothing more she could do. In desperation, he logged into an online forum and asked for help. An anonymous user contacted him, claiming to work on the NAB’s financial crime team, and offered to search for the account.
“I did not give this person any information other than the BSB and the account number I transferred to and they were able to send me the exact details of what was sent, when it was received, this which proved that the person was genuinely in the bank at NAB because no one else would have access to the information.
The NAB insider discovered that the money had been distributed to other accounts with Westpac and neobank 86,400 and withdrawn from a series of Malaysian ATMs.
Mr. Joseph hired cyber experts to trace the source of the hack. After determining that it was not his computer systems that were compromised, he hired lawyers for Selvaggio who were able to ensure that the full amount was recovered by insurers.
Although he was reimbursed in full, Mr Joseph filed a formal complaint with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority protesting the NAB’s handling of his case. It came to nothing, as did his call to the NSW Police.
“I failed with the banks, failed with the police, failed with AFCA, failed with NAB as the author’s bank trying to help them. They were contemptuous and not interested.
Mr. Joseph hopes that by sharing his story publicly, it will force banks to take the responsibility of preventing financial crime more seriously. “NAB may have the necessary processes, but I think the application of those processes is not strict enough. “
The Business Briefing newsletter features important articles, exclusive coverage and expert opinions. Sign up to get it every morning on weekdays.