09 Oct 2020

NAB Suspicious Matter Reports to AUSTRAC

A media article today (9 October 2020) incorrectly asserted that NAB did not maintain records of suspicions about the nature of potentially sinister transactions to AUSTRAC until the middle of 2019.

NAB Suspicious Matter Reports (SMRs) are submitted to AUSTRAC and include details of the suspected crime type, as required by law. It would be wrong to suggest otherwise.

We confirm that in July 2019 NAB modernised its internal systems to automate data extraction on cumulative SMR reports. On this basis, analysis of a subset of SMR data was provided to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics in January 2020.

NAB takes its financial crime obligations seriously. We recognise the important role we play in monitoring and reporting suspicious activity in keeping Australia’s financial system safe.

NAB Group CEO, Ross McEwan told a House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics (11 September 2020) that NAB has approximately 1000 people working to pick up on payments going in and out of the system and identifying suspicious transactions.

“We’ve been doing work on making sure we know in detail who our customers are and what activities they’re involved in so that we can start detecting. We still have a lot to do. We’ve made very good progress, in my mind, but we still have a lot to do, and we need to be very open with the committee on that. But we have a program that we’ve shared with AUSTRAC. We’ve taken them through all the milestones we believe we’ll achieve. It comes through a committee on this every month. It comes up to the board at the board meetings, and we do report regularly through into AUSTRAC on progress.

“This is to me a vital issue of keeping Australia safe and stopping parties that shouldn’t be operating in the Australian marketplace operating here. So we don’t see this as just ‘we need to do this to stay out of trouble’. We need to make Australia safe, and that’s the basis we’ve gone into it on as well. But there is lots of work still to do,” said Mr McEwan.

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