Two Australian bank branches are to close in the coming days following an investigation into allegations that they had been using customers’ money for personal gain.
Key points:Banks are investigating claims that customers were “bribed” with bank fundsThe investigation is continuing into allegations the banks used customers’ bank funds to pay for personal expenses, including “food, accommodation, and other personal services”The Federal Reserve has suspended the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Commonwealth Bank, ANZ and ANZ-controlled Western Australian Bank over the matter and is considering legal actionBanks will be unable to accept payments from customers, or make direct bank transfers to or from accounts, until the investigation is complete and the banks have given the “appropriate clearances”.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an investigation after receiving complaints from customers.
The inquiry has been underway since January this year and it is examining allegations of improper use of customer funds by two of the banks.
Banks have been contacted by customers and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been informed.
“The investigation into the bank’s conduct, and any relevant conduct that may have occurred with its clients, is ongoing and is ongoing,” a bank statement said.
“Any information that is provided to the AFP will be treated with the utmost confidence and will be subject to ongoing independent, third-party scrutiny.”
The bank statement also said the bank was “reviewing the matter” with the Federal Reserve.
The Federal Banking Authority (FBAC) said the investigation was continuing and the bank would not be providing any further comment.
“This matter is currently being investigated by the relevant authorities and we are not in a position to comment further at this stage,” a spokesman for the FBA said.
It is the second time a bank has been investigated over the alleged use of customers’ funds.
In February, a New South Wales bank was found to have engaged in a “significant pattern of illegal activity” in the payment of fees.
A spokesman for Western Australian Banks said: “We are working with the Australian Federal Police (AFP) to establish the facts surrounding this matter and the circumstances surrounding it.”
It is our position that all banks should be able to operate as normal with no additional risk or inconvenience.
“The investigation was launched after complaints by customers of the Australian Capital Territory’s Western Australian bank, which has a branch in Melbourne.
The ACCC is investigating a complaint from a customer about the use of her funds.
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