Australia's largest bank loses records of 20 million accounts

Commonwealth Bank issued a statement on Wednesday admitting in 2016 it lost back up data containing historical customer statements affecting almost 20 million Australian accounts

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) CBA.AX , the country's top lender, confirmed on Thursday it lost records of nearly 20 million accounts and chose to not inform its clients, a breach the nation's prime minister called "an extraordinary blunder".

"KPMG determined the most likely scenario was the tapes had been disposed of", the bank said, however BuzzFeed noted to this day they had still not been found. "But when a "destruction certificate" for the data wasn't found on 9 May 2016, the Commonwealth Bank initiated an investigation to find out what happened to the data", the report reads.

In April, the inquiry heard that the Commonwealth bank collected fees from customers it knew had died.

The Commonwealth Bank has taken two years to admit it lost 15 years' worth of customer statements which included names, addresses and account numbers.

CBA's acting Group Executive, Retail Banking Services, Angus Sullivan accepted responsibility on YouTube after BuzzFeed Australia broke the story on Wednesday.

CBA said it put in place "monitoring mechanisms" on 19.8 million customer account following the incident, and said that it had seen "no evidence of customer harm or suspicious account activity" that it could link to the data loss over the past two years.

Although the incident occurred in 2016, before new laws that require mandatory reporting for serious breaches, the attorney general told Sky News on Thursday that he and other customers of the bank would expect to have been notified. Those not affected by the breach received a statement saying "there is no evidence of your information being compromised and you do not need to take any action". Others suggest that a person tasked with destroying the tapes might have left them unattended.

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The same year, Time Warner lost a container of 40 tapes "containing sensitive data, including the names and social security numbers of about 600,000 people", while a division of Citigroup also lost tapes affecting some 3.9 million customers. It did not tell customers because "we balanced the need to alert customers without unnecessarily alarming them", he said.

The bank assured customers that their passwords and PINs that could be used for fraud remain intact.

However, Commonwealth began sending emails to customers on Thursday, notifying them of the incident. But we're also sure this won't be the last freaky case of missing data that we'll find out about.

But OAIC is now making further inquiries after a report by APRA slammed the bank for its "widespread sense of complacency".

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority said on Tuesday that community trust in Australia's banks had been "badly eroded" and CBA had failed to meet expectations and "fallen from grace".

CBA also admitted to using old medical definitions in order to refuse sick customers health insurance payouts.

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