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A Westpac customer for 36 years, I might put my money in socks

I remember him so clearly. He was the bank manager at the Marrickville Westpac branch. He was lovely despite refusing to count my income when it came to borrowing for a mortgage. That was how they did it then. He advised me it was unlikely I would work after I had kids. OK Silent Generation.

And for all that time, since 1983, I’ve been a Westpac customer. Believe me, after the royal commission, I was relieved if not smug. Of the big four banks, Westpac came off pretty well. It didn’t rip off dead people.

Now I discover it knew it was funding child exploitation. Let me make what it did perfectly clear. Westpac failed to obey anti-money laundering and counter-terror finance laws. According to AUSTRAC, the financial intelligence agency, that failure allowed payments to a person in the Philippines, later arrested for child sex trafficking and livestreaming child sexual abuse, as Adele Ferguson wrote. Skin-crawling stuff.

Livestreaming child sexual abuse. And it has known that for at least six years. It did nothing. No demonstrated remorse could ever make up for that utter ethical failure. I cannot even imagine being the person or people who did nothing to prevent that particular funding stream for child sex trafficking.

And here I am with my bright red debit card wondering what to do next. Is it possible to bank ethically?

Read the full article here

Courtesy of The Sydney Morning Herald

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