“I would like to apologise sincerely for the bank’s failings,” CEO Peter King said in a statement. “We are committed to fixing these issues to ensure that these mistakes do not happen again. This has been my number one priority.”
Westpac shares slumped Thursday in Sydney, and were last trading down about 1%.
Australian regulators pursued legal action against Westpac nearly a year ago when they said the bank failed to report millions of instructions for financial transfers in and out of Australia.
The regulatory watchdog said at the time that Westpac neglected to do its due diligence on transactions to the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia “that have known financial indicators relating to potential child exploitation.”
The allegations rocked the bank and led to the resignation of former CEO Brian Hartzer last November.
The penalty reflects the “serious and systemic nature” of Westpac’s non-compliance, AUSTRAC said in a statement Thursday.
“We have been, and will continue to work collaboratively with Westpac and all businesses we regulate to support them to meet their compliance and reporting obligations to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future,” said AUSTRAC chief executive Nicole Rose.
— Angus Watson contributed to this report.