On 20 August 2019, former NAB branch manager, Mathew Alwan, pleaded guilty in the Local Court of NSW to one count of ‘intention to defraud by false or misleading statement’, an offence under the NSW Crimes Act.
An ASIC investigation found that between 23 October 2013 and 19 September 2015, Mr Alwan dishonestly made false and misleading statements to NAB in relation to 24 home loan applications.
Mr Alwan told the bank that a NAB introducer had referred the 24 borrowers under the loan applications to NAB when he knew that this was not true. The NAB introducer he claimed had assisted in the loan application was Mr Alwan’s uncle, operating under the business name ‘Suit Club’.
As a result of the fraud, NAB paid Suit Club $56,995 in commissions.
Mr Alwan will be back before the Court on 1 October 2019 for sentence.
Since 2000, NAB operated a ‘spot and refer’ Introducer Program which allowed third party ‘introducers’ registered with NAB to refer the name and contact details of potential borrowers to the bank. If the borrower subsequently took out a loan with NAB, the introducer would receive a percentage of the loan amount as a commission. Between 2013 to 2016, NAB’s Introducer Program generated $24 billion dollars’ worth of loans.
In February 2016, NAB breach reported to ASIC that it had uncovered several of its bankers, including Mr Alwan, were engaged in fraudulent misconduct in Greater Western Sydney. This misconduct was later featured in the first case study before the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
On 25 March 2019, NAB announced that it will be terminating the Introducer Program on 1 October 2019.
In October 2018, ASIC permanently banned Mr Alwan from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services as a result of this conduct.
A sentencing hearing commenced on 1 October 2019. The matter will return to court on 5 November 2019 for sentence.
Editor's note 2:
The sentencing hearing has been moved to 19 November 2019.