Banks use money laundering and other cryptocurrency compliance risks not to hire cryptocurrency companies.
National Australia Bank (NAB), one of Australia’s Big Four lenders, has played down claims that its business relationships have largely excluded cryptocurrency firms, according to reports published through Reuters.
The publication reports that NAB and another major bank, Westpac, have sought to defend themselves against accusations that they have refused to do business with cryptocurrency firms in the country.
According to media reports, two of Australia’s cryptocurrency exchanges and a Singapore-based payments company were among those who lodged a complaint with lawmakers. The two exchanges, Bitcoin Babe and Aus Merchant, have denounced the fact that the four major banks in the country do not provide them with services.
On the other hand, the Singaporean company Nium informed the commission that it has access to banking services in 40 countries, but not in Australia.
Banks highlight crypto risks
NAB and Westpac officials told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that their policies were by no means deliberately applied to stifle competition. Lenders have come under criticism at a time when many Australian financial institutions are still finding it difficult to do business with crypto-focused companies.
According to financial institutions, the broader crypto industry still carries huge business risks despite the massive growth seen over the past year.
Ross McEwan, CEO of NAB, explained to lawmakers that the bank does not have a specific policy for cryptocurrency companies and that the lender does not exclude any customers per se.
However, he acknowledged that NAB did not serve clients related to cryptocurrencies. He went on to clarify that working with cryptocurrency companies is a decision that depends on the profitability of the company and the bank’s opinion of the potential risks.
“We have to look at where the cryptocurrency is going, with the reserve bank and the regulators. And what is the risk within the bank of dealing with cryptocurrency providers as well,” McEwan told parliamentarians in a statement. cited by Reuters.
The same concerns were highlighted by Westpac CEO Peter King, who pointed out that anonymous cryptocurrency transactions are a sticking point in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing.
The parliamentary committee is working to find the best way to regulate crypto assets in Australia.
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