Another two of Australia’s ‘big four’ banks are considering Ripple’s protocol to speed up and bring down the cost of currency transfers, according to a report by The Australian Financial Review.
Westpac Banking Corporation and the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) have joined Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), which announced its plans a couple of weeks ago, with their interest.
Westpac has reportedly trialed the protocol by making low-value international payments to two other countries. ANZ has had a number of ‘constructive conversations’ with Ripple and is examining its potential benefits.
Rachel Slade, Westpac’s General Manager of Global Transactional Services, said that the initial trials were encouraging. The protocol has enabled the bank to track the originator of each payment and satisfy anti-money laundering obligations. She commented:
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“The solution we’ve developed is faster than other alternatives in the market today, providing same or next-day payment. This technology could be very beneficial to all Australians, providing a low-cost and fast method of sending low-value payments overseas.”
While CBA’s CIO David Whiteing also embraced cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in general, Slade was more cautious, saying the bank’s interest in bitcoin is currently a “watching brief.” An ANZ representative said that the bank first wants to see the outcome of regulatory review.
National Australia Bank (NAB) remains the only one of the ‘big four’ yet to express interest in crypto. Lee Hatton, CEO of its online-only UBank, indicated that she wouldn’t trust bitcoin as a currency without regulation. “If it was regulated then anything becomes possible. We have foreign currency accounts, and you could view that similarly to adding a bitcoin account,” she said.
Last year, NAB reportedly closed the accounts of individuals trading in bitcoin, telling clients that “digital currency providers pose an unacceptable level of risk, both to our business and reputation.”