Westpac manager sues over broker kickbacks

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    A former Westpac employee who took kickbacks from a broker for referring borrowers has failed in an attempt to claim compensation for unfair dismissal.

    Belinda Wilson, a former Westpac lending manager in Brisbane, took cash kickbacks from a mortgage broker and tried to hide the payments by funneling them through her wife, according to a report by The Cairns Post. When Wilson was confronted with records of cash deposits from the broker into her wife’s account, Wilson claimed not to know who her spouse was and denied being involved in the kickback scheme, according to submissions made by Westpac to a Fair Work Commission hearing.

    Wilson also claimed that her superior, Westpac regional lending executive Warren Lane, was aware of the kickbacks and had condoned them. However, counsel for Westpac told the FWC that Wilson’s allegations against Lane were “a post-resignation construct.” Lane, rather than endorsing or supporting Wilson’s conduct, immediately reported it to his superiors, Westpac said.

    Lane was cleared in a ruling by Nicholas Lake, deputy president of the FWC, who said the lending executive “gave clear evidence he was not aware of the monetary incentives being received” by Wilson.

    Wilson resigned from Westpac in January of last year after being accused of taking cash kickbacks for referring customers who failed to meet Westpac’s lending criteria to a third-party broker, the Post reported. She filed an unfair dismissal application with the FWC in Brisbane, claiming she had not voluntarily resigned.

    However, Lake ruled that Wilson decided to “jump before she was pushed” when she quit. Lake ruled that by resigning, Wilson gained the ability to say she had resigned rather than being fired, but surrendered the right to claim unfair dismissal.

    Read more: Westpac’s Kiwi warning for investors

    Wilson’s resignation from Westpac came eight days after a show-cause meeting with Lane in which she was notified that the allegations against her had been substantiated, the Post reported. Wilson also allegedly behaved with “palpable dishonesty” during the investigation by lying about her knowledge of the kickback scheme and also by taking the kickbacks, a violation of bank policy, Westpac said.

    Westpac said that Wilson admitted to receiving the kickbacks in her second interview with the bank’s internal investigators.

    Ryan SmithRyan Smith is currently an executive editor at Key Media, where he started as a journalist in 2013. He has since he worked his way up to managing editor and is now an executive editor. He edits content for several B2B publications across the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. He also writes feature content for trade publications for the insurance and mortgage industries.
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