That’s what the Commonwealth Bank’s acting head of retail banking, Angus Sullivan claimed on 7.30 last night.
To paraphrase the famous Mandy Rice Davies, one of the two hookers involved, along with Christine Keeler in the famous Profumo affair of the 1960s. That’s her on the left.
“Well he would say that, wouldn’t he?”
The Profumo affair was far more interesting than the Royal commission into the banking industry. It involved Russian spies, prostitutes (see above) politicians, an osteopath, the fall of the McMillan government and (apparently) Prince Philip.
But I digress.
“We’ve been unable to assure ourselves that the drives have been destroyed,” said Mr Sullivan.
But the bank never alerted its customers to the potentially-massive privacy breach and has only gone public after BuzzFeed News broke the story.
“When incidents like these are shared more broadly, they create risks in and of themselves,” he told AM.
So it boils down to this:
The bank didn’t tell the 20 million account holders that it could not reassure them that their banking details had fallen into someone else’s hands because 20 million customers may have closed their accounts.
That is “the risk in and of itself”. A risk to the bank. Completely ignoring the risk to the customer who up until now has been kept in the dark.
And, does the Commonwealth Bank know who the 20 million customers are?
Mr Sullivan reassures us that the accounts have not been used for ” malicious intent” … probably. But if someone has got hold of the accounts they could be being used to launder money.
Did you ever pause to think how the billions of dollars of illicit drug money gets out of the country? It is through bank accounts like the ones that have gone missing from the Commonwealth Bank. Usually they are from people have died and didn’t bother closing the accounts. The bank puts the account details on a truck and ships them off to Fuji Xerox to be destroyed. But 20 million slipped through a crack, apparently. A treasure trove for organised crime.
Will the Commonwealth Bank ever be able to check 20 million accounts to make sure that billions of dollars have not being flushed out through the the banking system over the last decade.
Of course not? They don’t know where they are.
Will they try to find them?
Of course not. Too hard, too expensive.
What should Commonwealth customers do. The bank is clearly not going to tell them if they are one of the 20 million account holders.
So what should happen. Here’s what.
Every Commonwealth Bank customer should close their accounts. One by one.
Let’s assume that every Commonwealth Bank customer has got five accounts. That means that the Commonwealth Bank will lose 4 million customers, very slowly but very surely.
Angus Sullivan and his fellow execs will experience a bit more than the “inconvenience and worry ” of 20 million account holders.