Loss of Access to Bank Accounts

Written on the 7 March 2024 by SAFCA

Our NT Steering Group last week discussed a topic many were facing - their clients losing access to their bank accounts ('restricted access', 'suspended transactions'); and it has been increasing in recent months.

With thanks to Serena Staines and staff from NT Legal Aid Commission for undertaking research into this issue and providing the group and SAFCA members with an overview of reasons why this may occur.   

In summary - banks are doing this to meet their obligations under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism legislation (linked below). It is being expressed in banks undertaking 'know your customer' (KYC) procedures.   

Here is the background and legislative information.

Federal Register of Legislation - Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act 2006


Many financial counsellors had clients who were not informed their accounts were blocked and this caused significant financial stress until it was rectified. Resolution involved the client proving their identify to the bank. This can be challenging for people who live in remote locations - as we know. The links below point to the information guides for the major banks in response to this legislation.

CBA: Provides a good overview of the requirements and process.






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