Australian retail lender Bank of Queensland is updating its borrowers’ loan contracts to keep them from purchasing cryptocurrency using mortgage funds.
Brisbane-based Bank of Queensland, a retail bank listed on Australia’s primary stock exchange is discouraging its borrowers from using real-estate mortgages to purchase cryptocurrency after deeming it a high-risk investment, according to the Australian Financial Review.
Citing a mortgage broker, the report also reveals that domestic banks are actively monitoring borrowers’ accounts to question of crypto trading and purchases as well as offshore trades or fund transfers.
While they publicly claim that customers aren’t questioned about their use of their borrowed home-loan funds, banks continue to ‘discreetly monitor and regulate crypto-loans’, the report added.
A representative from the Bank of Queensland confirmed that the lender was updating its loan contracts to explicitly state:
“…any loan purpose that involves the acquisition of or usage of cryptocurrency is unacceptable.”
The bank’s concern stems from the increasing scrutiny into the sector by Australia’s taxation authority, treasury, the financial watchdog and the central bank, according to the anonymous broker.
As reported previously, AUSTRAC, the country’s financial watchdog and intelligence agency, began monitoring cryptocurrency exchanges following legislation that regulated cryptocurrency exchanges in late 2017. On April 3, 2018, all domestic cryptocurrency exchanges were reminded of their obligations to adhere to KYC/AML norms. In essence, Australian authorities now have the means to target and monitor the transactions of any single cryptocurrency trader registered with a domestic exchange.
Australia’s taxation authority is also looking into crypto-related profits by citizens – including those trading offshore – to remind them of their capital gains tax obligations. Earlier this year, the authority opened a public consultation on how to best collect taxes given the ‘practical compliance issues’ from compliance with crypto-related tax obligations.
The Bank of Queensland’s restrictive policy toward cryptocurrency purchases follow ‘big four’ bank CBA barring its customers from buying crypto using borrowed funds via credit cards.
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