SYDNEY, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Two of Australia’s largest lenders, National Australia Bank (NAB) (NAB.AX) and Westpac (WBC.AX), on Thursday rejected criticism that they are stymieing competition by refusing to do business with cryptocurrency providers.
Many of Australia’s top financial institutions have not engaged with the sector, despite its huge growth in the past year, due to its high risks.
The stock exchange ASX Ltd (ASX.AX), similarly has not allowed cryptocurrency-related listings, forcing some firms to seek public listings overseas, including on the Nasdaq.
“It’s one of the emerging issues that we are looking at – what should our relationship be, if at all, with cryptocurrency,” NAB Chief Executive Ross McEwan told a regular parliamentary hearing.
The bank did not have a policy excluding crypto-related customers, but did not service any of them and would only do so if it was profitable and the bank could tolerate the risks, McEwan said.
“We have to look at where does cryptocurrency go, along with … the reserve bank and regulators. And what’s the risk inside the bank of dealing with cryptocurrency providers as well.”