"Embarrassed and upset" over the conduct of a handful of employees bringing the organisation into disrepute, Axis Bank MD and CEO Shikha Sharma has said the bank has hired KPMG to conduct a forensic audit to build more safeguards.
Assuring that the fundamentals of the bank is on a "solid footing', Sharma said in a letter to Axis Bank customers that the bank is tracking sudden surge in account activity and have 'proactively identified potentially suspicious accounts".
"The recent media reports around the conduct of a few of our employees have left me embarrassed and upset. We have fallen short of your expectations because a handful of people did not follow our fully compliant and robust processes. We have taken the toughest action against such employees and we will do so in every case of divergence from our Code of Conduct.
The income tax department had last week conducted a raid at an Axis Bank branch in Noida and unearthed Rs 60 crore from the accounts of 20 shell companies.
"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," she said in the letter.
The Enforcement Directorate recently arrested two Axis Bank managers in Delhi and seized 3kg gold bars in connection with its money laundering probe in a racket of illegally converting old notes in connivance with banking authorities.
The agency's probe after it registered a criminal complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) on November 30, revealed that huge amounts were transferred through RTGS transfers to some shell companies, including a case in which the director of one such firm was a "petty labourer".
Sharma said the bank has identified suspicious accounts and has given inputs to regulatory authorities for further investigation.
"I would like to reassure you that the bank has always been committed to the highest standards of operational control and continues to fully cooperate with the authorities. We have been tracking sudden surges in account activity and have proactively identified potentially suspicious accounts.
"This proactive identification has been one of the inputs in investigation by the regulatory authorities, who are visiting some of our branches to seek out information. Further, we have hired KPMG to conduct a forensic audit for enhanced due diligence and building more safeguards," she said.
Thanking customers for the support and understanding since the demonetisation initiative, Sharma said it has been a challenging time and the bank has tried its "level best" to make it easier for customers.
"We have made every effort to ease the transition by making special arrangements for senior citizens and differently abled people at our branches, using micro-ATMs to deliver cash to BSF personnel, ensuring salary disbursement to government and corporate employees across the length and breadth of our country," Sharma wrote.
"I assure you that the fundamentals of the bank, built painstakingly over the last 22 years, focused on serving its retail and corporate customers are on a solid footing... We will always safeguard your interests because your trust matters the most. I look forward to your continued confidence in making us a safe, strong bank that is always focused on you," she said in the letter. —PTI