The country’s third-largest private sector lender, Axis Bank, which has recently been in the news after several of its employees were found indulging in misconduct, has sprung into action by initiating a host of proactive steps to maintain compliance. It has also initiated investigations into a few accounts, which have been deemed as suspicious. Besides, the bank has also taken the unprecedented step of temporarily “freezing” a few accounts, and suspicious transaction reports (STRs) have been filed with the Financial Intelligence Unit.
Earlier in a statement, the bank had said that investigative agencies have identified “some potentially suspect accounts for which the lender had already filed STRs in the past.”
Speaking to HT, Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma said: “Wherever we have found malpractice, we have taken proactive action. We are fully co-operating with investigative agencies. We are providing all relevant information proactively as well as whatever is being sought.”
The bank, which has already engaged KPMG to look into the matter, has suspended 24 employees.
“We have taken been very proactive in dealing with it from the time these incidents were reported... action has been taken against 24 employees...We are very embarrassed for what has happened. There are black sheep everywhere and we have to deal with them, we have dealt with them,” Sharma said. The bank has over 55,000 employees, she added.
Meanwhile, in a separate statement issued on Monday, the bank said that the visit of investigative agencies to its branches has been pursuant to the cash transaction report (CTRs) and STRs filed by the bank.”
The third-largest private sector lender has also written to its customers explaining the unwarranted situation.
“I regret that the misdeeds of a few people have eroded the hard work of 55,000+ employees, who have been at the front end beyond working hours, displaying extraordinary patience and commitment to their responsibilities,” Sharma said.
The top executives of the bank have told employees that strict action will be taken in case of any deviation from the code of conduct laid down by the bank.
The bank has serviced 90 lakh customers since November 10.
The Enforcement Directorate had earlier arrested two managers of the bank. The income-tax department has also conducted searches at a couple of its branches.