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Here’s why the Westpac share price is down another 2%

Tristan Harrison
Share prices down

The Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) share price has fallen another 2% today after yesterday’s bombshell from AUSTRAC.

We learned yesterday that Westpac hadn’t been reporting some international transfers on time to AUSTRAC. It was actually millions of transfers that hadn’t been properly reported, perhaps amounting to over $10 billion in total.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) has previously paid a hefty fine, to the tune of $700 million, for not properly reporting transactions to AUSTRAC.

The reputational damage for Westpac is even worse because some of these transactions were reportedly paying for child exploitation materials from South East Asia.

It’s this revelation that led to David Kinley, chairman of human rights law at the University of Sydney, being quoted by the Australian Financial Review “They simply don’t understand their human rights obligations and what is expected of them. Westpac displays a keenness and robustness on matters relating to their core business, and a marginalisation of human rights concerns they clearly believe are peripheral.”

Ouch. Westpac of course said it’s not taking this lightly. Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer said in a statement “We are also taking very seriously AUSTRAC’s concerns around appropriate customer due diligence on transactions to the Philippines and South East Asia, including reviewing relevant processes.

“We will shortly be reporting a small number of remaining IFTIs related to our LifePay product.”

The headlines have already been made and soon Westpac may face a very large penalty. It’s a little surprising this came to light a long time after CBA’s reporting issues, which should have been a warning to the whole industry.

Foolish takeaway

There isn’t a firm end to the royal commission remediation payments and now Westpac faces another big hit to profit in FY20. I can see why some investors are selling, I wouldn’t want to hold shares in this current climate – banks are really taking a beating.

The post Here’s why the Westpac share price is down another 2% appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. 2019