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Banking royal commission to start with victims of 'fraudulent' loans, brokers, car finance and credit cards

Photo: All four of the major banks as well as Citi will come under the blowtorch. (ABC News: Michael Barnett) Photo: All four of the major banks as well as Citi will come under the blowtorch. (ABC News: Michael Barnett)

Fraudulent brokers and loan applications at National Australia Bank and the Commonwealth Bank-owned Aussie Home Loans are top of the agenda for examination when the royal commission kicks off in a fortnight.

Commissioner Kenneth Hayne is diving straight into the quagmire of dodgy lending practices in the first week of public hearings.

All four of the major banks as well as Citi will come under the blowtorch, with the commission publishing the specific case studies that will be up for examination.

Number one on the ticket is NAB's "Introducer Program and fraudulent loan applications".

The Introducer Program got the bank into hot water when it came to light last year that it was rewarding "introducers" who successfully referred people to the bank for a loan, despite many of the applications being submitted with false information including doctored payslips.

Twenty bankers were either sacked or left the bank for breaching lending policies.

The commission's next target will be "fraudulent brokers and broker arrangements" at Aussie Home Loans, and then the Commonwealth Bank's "accreditation of brokers and broker arrangements".

The commission says that a number of consumers and a consumer advocate will give evidence of their particular experiences during the hearings.

It appears the commission will be delving far deeper into the opaque world of mortgage broking than last year's review of remuneration in the industry by ASIC, and will hopefully shed more light on the incentives that often pit broker's self-interest against the best interests of the borrower.

There is little information available on the value of commissions paid by lenders to the likes of Aussie Home Loans, Mortgage Choice and their brokers, with the Productivity Commission likening the lack of transparency to an industry "black box".

Westpac and ANZ are both to come under fire over their car financing activities.

Westpac will also be in the spotlight for "unsuitable credit card limit increases".

The commission says more topics may be added to the already packed week-long hearing in Melbourne which will begin on March 13.

Video: ABC News chief economic correspondent Emma Alberici explains the commission's aims and the scope of the mission. (ABC News)

This article was first published by
Author: The Business host Elysse Morgan
Last modified onMonday, 19 March 2018 22:29

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