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Commonwealth Bank customer's shock as accounts shut ‘out of nowhere’: 'Just an everyday user'

Tara Zaw received a message from Commonwealth Bank out of the blue that said her accounts were shutting down.

A Commonwealth Bank (CBA) customer is searching for answers after her accounts were shut down "out of nowhere". Tara Zaw had been with the bank for seven years and had thousands of dollars across several accounts when she got a text message, email and letter informing her of the closure.

Zaw told Yahoo Finance the only explanation she got was that it was a "commercial decision". Confused, she went to her local branch in Melbourne so she could speak to a person, but the banker still couldn't give her a single reason.

"I feel like I'm not being treated as human," she said.

Commonwealth Bank sign and the email that said her accounts were shutting down.
Tara Zaw received a message from Commonwealth Bank out of the blue that said her accounts were shutting down. (Source: Getty/Supplied)

Have you had an issue with your bank? Contact stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

Zaw was told the final date to have her funds sorted was April 8. She knew her accounts weren't working as normal when an automated transfer for her rent didn't go through two days later.

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"I'm kind of scared because even though I have accounts in other banks in Australia, even then, Commonwealth is the most convenient for me," she said.

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"It's like I'm literally just an everyday user so I don't know why you're shutting down my account... I'm basically getting banned from CommBank and I'm like, 'Hello, is this how Australian banks treat customers?' because I am so confused right now."

Panic sets in as accounts closed and payments blocked

After her accounts were closed, she wasn't able to get into the app to make changes to some of her payments, which caused her a lot of stress.

Thankfully she had moved most of her money before she was shut out, but there was still a bit in her CBA accounts in case they remained open.

While she was able to rely on cash that she had lying around, a new worry popped into her head.

"Now I'm thinking, 'Okay, what banks can I trust or like what banks can I have a mutual, trusted relationship with?" she said.

Commonwealth Bank would not disclose the reason behind Zaw's accounts being closed to Yahoo Finance for "privacy reasons".

"We consider a number of factors before making the careful decision to close a customer’s account and we ensure we inform the customer of the decision," a spokesperson told Yahoo Finance.

"If customers have any questions around this we encourage them to contact us."

When she first went into a CBA branch, the worker she spoke to gave her a phone number to call and, despite multiple attempts, she hasn't been able to get through.

Zaw now feels like she just has to move on because she is not getting any answers from the bank.

"I don't know what my rights are," she said to Yahoo Finance. "And to try to stand up against a big corporation like Commonwealth and already being treated not human, I don't see that going very well."

Why CommBank customer thinks accounts were frozen

The situation left her scratching her head for days wondering what could be behind the "commercial decision" to close her accounts.

The only thing she could come up with was the fact that she regularly received money from her family back in Myanmar.

She told Yahoo Finance she used to receive calls from CBA every now and then asking what particular money transfers were in case she was being hacked. However, she said each time that it was all fine because it was from her loved ones and was meant for essentials like groceries.

Aussies can be prevented from sending money to certain countries if that territory is under sanctions.

"Sanctions take into consideration the political climate of a country, its human rights record and the people and organisations within it that the Australian government wants to avoid financially supporting," financial comparison site Finder said.

"While you may discover options to get around these sanctions to support friends and family, the government often considers these to be illegal."

Finder said sanctions were lifted on Myanmar back in 2012 and were partly reinstated in 2018.

"You'll still be able to send money to Myanmar, but be wary of only sending money to friends and family you know well," the site warned.

Zaw still doesn't know why money transfers from her home country would be an issue.

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