National Australia Bank has sent account details of 60,000 overseas customers to an incorrect email address, with the bank now working with regulators and Google to rectify the failure.
The blunder has compromised the private information of new customers to NAB, with the error coming out of the migrant banking team.
Specifically, the mistake only affected accounts set up by migrants outside of Australia, and was caused simply by “human error”.
As a result, the NAB has taken legal action in the US to help source the emails, enlisting the help of Google to retrieve correspondence which details customer names, addresses, email addresses, BSB and account number and NAB identification numbers.
The technology giant has stringent guidelines around allowing third parties, including law enforcement agencies, access to Gmail account details, and refuses to comply unless directed by a court order.
Consequently, the court action launched in the Northern District of California is merely NAB following strict Google protocols, with both parties now working together to track down the emails.
“NAB takes the privacy and the protection of our customers' personal information extremely seriously,” NAB executive general manager for international branches, Peter Coad, said.
“We also take full responsibility and we sincerely apologise to our customers for this mistake.
“The error was caused by human error and identified following our own internal checks and as soon as we realised what had happened we took action.”
Coad said NAB has written to the 60,000 customers impacted, explaining the error while also working with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner and Australian Securities and Investments Commission to minimise any further damage.
"Approximately 40 per cent of these customers have either closed or have not used their account this year," he added.
"Furthermore, 19,000 of these accounts have a balance of less than $2."