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19-315MR Former NAB branch manager sentenced for making false and misleading statements to NAB
Former Western Sydney NAB branch manager, Mathew Alwan, has been sentenced to 12 months imprisonment to be served by way of Intensive Corrections Order (ICO) for making false and misleading statements to NAB in relation to 24 home loan applications.
Mr Alwan had previously pleaded guilty (19-216MR) to an ‘intention to defraud by false or misleading statement’ charge after he told NAB that an introducer had referred borrowers to make loan applications. In reality, the NAB introducer was Mr Alwan’s uncle, operating under the business name ‘Suit Club’.
The fraud occurred between October 2013 and September 2015 and resulted in NAB paying Suit Club $56,995 in commissions.
ASIC has taken further action regarding NAB’s Introducer Program, launching civil proceedings in the Federal Court against NAB in August 2019 (19-222MR).
‘ASIC’s action against Mr Alwan now comes to a close but its civil enforcement case against NAB itself demonstrates the broader litigation efforts ASIC is undertaking in respect to the NAB Introducer Program,’ said ASIC Deputy Chair Daniel Crennan QC.
In delivering the sentence, Magistrate Atkinson remarked that there had recently been a Royal Commission into the banking industry in which there had been very strong statements made with respect to the need for accountability and there was a need for strong general deterrence so that people in the industry understand how important it is to comply with the regulations.
As part of the ICO Mr Alwan will undertake 200 hours of community service and ongoing rehabilitation treatment.
ASIC has permanently banned Mr Alwan from providing financial services (18-302MR).
The matter was prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions after a referral from ASIC.
Since at least 2000, NAB operated the credit industry’s largest referral program, known as the ‘Introducer Program’, whereby a third-party introducer could ‘spot and refer’ a potential customer to NAB in exchange for commission if the customer entered into a loan with NAB. Between 2013 to 2016, NAB’s Introducer Program generated $24 billion dollars’ worth of loans.
Further action regarding the NAB Introducer Program has also been taken against former NAB Branch Manager, Rabih Awad (18-211MR).
On 25 March 2019, NAB announced that it will be terminating the Introducer Program. The program was terminated on 1 October 2019.
ASIC’s action against Mathew Alwan falls within ASIC's Wealth Management Major Financial Institutions Portfolio. The Portfolio focuses on the financial services conduct of Australia's largest financial institutions (NAB, Westpac, CBA, ANZ, Macquarie and AMP) with respect to credit and retail lending, financial advice, fees for no service, superannuation trustees, insurance, unfair contract terms and other licensee obligations, and other conduct arising from the Financial Services Royal Commission.
As part of its Wealth Management Portfolio, ASIC has banned 61 advisers and three directors from the financial services industry. Three bannings are the subject of appeal.