Executives of Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) and National Australia Bank (NAB) have said they are glad they didn’t jump on the crypto bandwagon, ruling out the possibility of its retail clients trading digital assets on their platforms.
Retail Clients Lack “Basic Financial Well-Being Concepts”
While speaking at the Australian Financial Review Banking Summit, Maile Carnegie, the Group Executive Digital and Australia Transformation at ANZ, said that from their interactions with retail clients, most of them don’t understand fundamental “financial well-being concepts”.
As a result, although the bank has been considering cryptocurrencies since 2017, they won’t create a smooth platform allowing them to speculate on cryptocurrencies. She added that the bank resisted the tempting urge to dive “headlong” into offering such service.
When also asked if NAB would support crypto trading, Angela Mentis, the chief digital officer, said they won’t, even in the near future. Besides, the service would be sealed off from retail clients if they did.
Even so, Angela revealed that the bank was utilizing blockchain in serving its institutional clients. The bank also had additional plans to issue a stablecoin pegged to the Australian dollar, following the footsteps of the ANZ, which launched theirs early this year. These stablecoins would be specifically available only for institutional clients looking to diversify into crypto.
CBA Intends To Support Crypto Trading Despite Challenges
Out of the four large banks in Australia, only the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) supports retail crypto trading.
In an announcement back in November 2021, CBA said it would partner with Gemini, a U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange that’s sufficiently regulated and compliant with stringent U.S. laws.
They planned to offer a cryptocurrency exchange and a custody service via their mobile feature, breaking ranks with traditional banks. CBA would have been the first regulated financial institution to provide retail cryptocurrency trading through this offering.
Nonetheless, Matt Comyn acknowledged challenges, but they intend to offer the service eventually. In early Q2 2022, Australia’s SEC threw a spanner into their trials. The regulator said they were concerned about insufficient consumer protections, forcing the bank to indefinitely halt its second pilot of the program.
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