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Wednesday 12 March 2014

14-043MR ASIC bans former Westpac bank home finance manager in relation to false loan applications

ASIC has permanently banned Mr David St Pierre, a former Westpac Bank Home Finance Manager from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services.

Mr St Pierre, of Mt Nathan, Queensland, was a Home Finance Manager for Westpac Bank between September 2000 and April 2011.

An ASIC investigation found that between July 2008 and June 2010, Mr St Pierre:

  • submitted loan applications to Westpac for approval when he knew that they contained false information and that they were supported by false documents

  • failed to prepare an authority that accurately identified the payee of a cheque with the result that a customer cheque for $215,000 was paid into the personal trading account of a non-office holder of Capital Growth International Club Pty Ltd (CGIC), and

  • enabled and encouraged customers to borrow funds from Westpac and earned a financial advantage in the form of cash bonuses on the loans, in addition to his base salary, despite knowing that they were elderly, a pensioner, a carer or suffering from a disability, and would not be able to repay the loan if the scheme failed.

ASIC has determined that Mr St Pierre is not a fit and proper person to engage in credit activities and is not of good fame or character, making him an unsuitable person to provide financial services.

ASIC Commissioner Peter Kell said Mr St Pierre’s misconduct was very serious.

'ASIC will ban people from the finance industry who act dishonestly and place personal interests ahead of those they service. Mr St Pierre's actions exposed vulnerable members of the community to severe financial loss and hardship', Mr Kell said.

Mr St Pierre has the right to seek a review of ASIC’s decision to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

Background

Mr St Pierre was a Home Finance Manager at Westpac Banking Corporation between September 2000 and April 2011.

During his employment at Westpac, Mr St Pierre had involvement in providing loans to All About Property Developments Pty Ltd (AAPD), the real estate arm of CGIC, as part of a property development scheme operated by CGIC and AAPD.

Mr St Pierre submitted loan applications for approval to Westpac when he knew they contained false information and were supported by false documents.

The 12 customers to whom the loan applications related were elderly or vulnerable and with limited financial means, yet in spite of this Mr St Pierre encouraged them to borrow against their homes, some of which were unencumbered, to invest in the scheme which promised returns of 15–25% per annum to investors. The customers received monthly interest payments from the scheme after they invested in it, however the interest payments stopped shortly before a liquidator was appointed to CGIC and AAPD on 28 February 2011, which left the customers without sufficient income with which to repay their loans to Westpac.

ASIC has been working with Westpac to ensure that affected customers are appropriately compensated. ASIC acknowledges Westpac's cooperation in relation to this matter.

ASIC's investigations, including consideration of final compensation arrangements, are ongoing.

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Last updated: 12/03/2014 12:00