A mobile lender at NAB has lost her unfair dismissal case against the major bank after she was found to have been involved in $24,000 of suspicious loan referrals.
NAB’s loan referral program, or introducer scheme saw introducers like real estate agents, builders and accounting firms rewarded with commissions for referring borrowers to the bank.
It came under heavy scrutiny in the Royal Commission, with 300 NAB employers leaving the big four bank in the months since then.
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Longke Tang was one of them, after several loans raised concerns and questions in the bank, the Fair Work Commission revealed in a new judgment.
Tang had told the bank that seven borrowers had been referred to the bank by real estate agency AU Gold Realty and its director, Meiying “Rain” Song.
Those referrals saw Song pocket $24,000 from the bank.
The questions came to light during a routine review of introducers conducted by the bank which found loan applications from borrowers “introduced” by AU Gold were completed with fraudulent documents including false sale contracts and false payslips.
Once this was noticed, the review went on to find several more problematic loans.
Asked to explain, a senior banker at NAB called the borrower to discuss the loan with Tang present.
“[The] customer provided blatantly false information about the purported property purchase which had been the basis for the provision of the fraudulent loan,” the judgment said.
And when asked if the borrower was happy with the introducer program, the customer said they didn’t know what that was.
“At this point, [Ms Tang] interrupted the telephone conversation; she identified herself to the customer, and she suggested to the customer that he did remember seeing Ms Meiying Song (a.k.a. Rain Song), from AU Gold. The customer then said that he did remember Ms Song but he had forgotten the introducer’s name.”
A continued NAB investigation saw seven customers purportedly introduced by AU Gold contacted, only to find that six of those customers had “no knowledge of AU Gold or… Meiying Song”.
Tang’s employment was terminated in October 2018.
However, the commission heard, Tang said she was a “scapegoat” as she was a pregnant woman and “NAB needed someone to blame for the Royal Commissions”.
She said she had been discriminated against as an Asian, pregnant woman and said the major bank had “wilfully ignored her welfare during her pregnancy”.
She told the commission that she would not have been treated the same way if she were a pregnant white woman, and said her reputation had been damaged.
But, the commission decided, the applicant’s response to the questions and criticism was “curious if not bold”, and said NAB was right to conclude that Tang had “falsely included AU Gold as an Introducer”.
“The applicant also provided curiously evasive answers when she was asked … about details of her relationship with AU Gold,” the judgment read.
“The applicant said that her relationship with AU Gold was established through a mutual friend who introduced her to AU Gold. However, the applicant was unable to name the mutual friend or provide any other information about how she established her relationship with AU Gold.”
The judgment comes as NAB wrestles with a $40 million fraud case involving corrupt commissions and a “most serious breach of trust”.
Former chief of staff to exited CEO Andrew Thorburn, Rosemary Rogers has been arrested for her alleged involvement.
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