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AUSTRAC releases four new Australian banking sector risk assessments

Today AUSTRAC released four new Australian banking sector money laundering and terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk assessments. The four assessments examine the threats criminals pose to Australia’s major banks, other domestic banks, foreign subsidiary banks and foreign bank branches operating in Australia.

Australia’s banking sector sits at the centre of our financial services industry, providing an extensive range of products and services to retail, corporate, institutional and private banking customers. The risk assessments will help the banking sector to identify the threats criminals pose to their sectors.

The overall ML/TF risk ratings for the banking sector range from medium (foreign subsidiary banks and foreign bank branches) to high (major banks and other domestic banks). 

The risk assessments are a result of AUSTRAC’s close engagement with the Australian banking sector, State and Commonwealth regulatory and law enforcement agencies. These combined efforts provide critical insights about the criminal threats and vulnerabilities facing Australia’s banking sectors and community. 

Most suspected money laundering and to a lesser extent terrorism financing activity involves retail banking products and services, particularly those that facilitate cash transactions or rapid transfer of funds domestically or internationally.

AUSTRAC CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, said it’s vital the banking sector in Australia uses these risk assessments to help them to protect their business, customers and the Australian community from criminal threats.

“Criminals will exploit any gaps and use sophisticated methods for their own personal greed,” Ms Rose said.

“We are navigating a rapidly changing financial system and advances in technologies and platforms. That is why government, law enforcement and the finance sector must continue to work together to protect Australia’s financial system and Australians from serious and organised crime.”

The risk assessments are the latest in a series of money laundering and terrorism financing risk assessments developed to assist the Australian financial services sectors to identify, understand and disrupt serious criminal activity targeting Australia’s financial system and community.

The new banking risk assessments, banking key findings snapshot and overview can be found on the AUSTRAC website:

•    Major banks risk assessment (PDF, 2.06MB) 
•    Other domestic banks risk assessment (PDF, 1.55MB)
•    Foreign subsidiary banks risk assessment (PDF, 2.37MB) 
•    Foreign bank branches risk assessment (PDF, 1.19MB)

Upcoming risk assessments will focus on remittance network providers and their affiliates, independent remittance providers and Australian casinos.

Further information

In September 2018, the Australian Government provided $5.175 million to AUSTRAC to undertake an expanded three-year program of work to deliver risk assessments that focus on Australia's largest sectors –banking, gambling and remittance services.

About AUSTRAC

AUSTRAC is the Australian Government agency responsible for detecting, deterring and disrupting criminal abuse of the financial system to protect the community from serious and organised crime.

Through strong regulation, and enhanced intelligence capabilities, AUSTRAC collects and analyses financial reports and information to generate financial intelligence.

Learn more about AUSTRAC

Media contact

Email: media@austrac.gov.au
Media Operations Director: Allison Roesler-Vannan
Phone: 02 9950 0488

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