Westpac gives investors an out

Westpac has opened the exit door for share purchase plan investors caught unaware by AUSTRAC's action against the bank.

Following discussions with corporate regulator ASIC, Westpac has opted to provide a withdrawal option for applicants to its share purchase plan who applied for shares before AUSTRAC made its allegations against the bank public.

Those wishing to withdraw their application for share purchase plan shares have until 5pm (AEDT) on Friday, December 6 to do so.

Unveiled during the bank's full-year results announcement earlier this month, the share purchase plan represented $500 million of a $2.5 billion capital raise the bank was undertaking in an effort to "strengthen its balance sheet" and enable "the creation of a larger buffer than APRA's CET1 capital ratio benchmark of 10.5%."

Separately, ANZ has moved to quell fears it may be the next big bank in AUSTRAC's sights, releasing a statement which sets out the actions the bank has taken to help in the prevention of financial crime in banking.

Following shareholder queries, ANZ chief risk officer Kevin Corbally yesterday said protecting the banking system from criminal use was one of ANZ's "most important roles" and one its staff took seriously.

"ANZ has been working with AUSTRAC, law enforcement and the broader industry to detect, prevent and disrupt serious financial crimes. This includes money laundering, terrorism, human trafficking, tax evasion and child exploitation," Corbally said.

The ANZ risk boss said recent issues identified within the industry by AUSTRAC had caused the bank to review its systems and processes to transfer money to ensure it was reporting the information required by regulators.

"While the review is ongoing, it has found no material issues to date," Corbally said.

Read more: AUSTRACANZWestpacKevin CorballyAPRAASIC
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