The business regulator has launched legal action against ANZ Bank after the lender allegedly used cleaners, realtors and fraudulent documents to sign billions of dollars in home loans under a scheme that was heavily cut. criticized by the royal banking commission.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) filed a lawsuit in Federal Court on Thursday alleging that ANZ Bank broke company laws by using unlicensed people to forward mortgage applications to the bank for a commission.
ASIC alleges that in the five years leading up to June 2020, ANZ Bank used the illegal “introductory program” to sign more than 50,000 loans worth more than $ 18.5 billion. In some cases, ASIC alleges that these mortgages were based on fraudulent documents.
As of September 2018, ASIC claims that the introducer program contributed about 10% of all home loans sold through ANZ’s branch network in Australia. ANZ Bank did not take appropriate steps to train referral agents and ensure that they did not collect documents from potential clients for whom they were not authorized, the regulator says.
In its concise statement, ASIC claims that many of these issues were identified by ANZ’s internal audit team in September 2016, but despite measures that were introduced to address the issue, persistent shortcomings have emerged. were discovered in June 2020.
ASIC Vice-President Sarah Court said the regulator feared some of the loans may have been made on the basis of false information and that some consumers had taken on debt they could not afford.
“If banks are accepting referrals from consumers looking for a home loan from unlicensed people, who receive commissions for referrals, they need to ensure they have the right systems in place to properly process those referrals. “said Ms Court.
ASIC is seeking sanctions and other injunctions from ANZ Bank, including that the bank hire an independent expert to conduct a review of its existing mortgage referral agreements.