The Administrative Appeals Tribunal has reduced the banning period for a former Sydney credit representative from permanent to four years.
The AAT affirmed the findings from ASIC's investigation that Tony Nguyen of Petersham, NSW, had acted in the role of a credit assistance provider to nine consumers and/or as an intermediary between those consumers and the lender at a time when he was not authorised to do so under an Australia credit licence.
An ASIC statement explained that, as an 'introducer' or referral partner, Mr Nguyen was entitled to only give the consumers' names and contact details to lenders. In breach of his agreements as an introducer or referral partner, Mr Nguyen instead assisted the nine consumers to enter into loans with the lender, and in some cases suggested they enter into loans with the lender, by:
• discussing the nature and structure of proposed loans and the loan to value ratios with the lender;
• suggesting to the lender that 'upfront valuations' be obtained;
• discussing a consumer's credit history with the lender;
• obtaining financial information and assisting the consumers to fill out loan application forms; and
• arranging for consumers to sign loan and mortgage documents and in some cases witnesses their signatures.
The AAT said that Mr Nguyen's actions “clearly were directed at the procuring of loans from the lender for the consumers”.
The AAT upheld Mr Nguyen's appeal against ASIC's findings that he had:
1. given eight loan applications and 30 supporting documents to a lender that contained false information about the consumers' income and employment in circumstances where he knew or was reckless as to whether the loan applications contained false information; and
2. held out to six consumers that he held an Australian credit licence.
ASIC’s review of mortgage broker remuneration, released in March, found that there has been a sharp increase in the use of mortgage referrers, such as real estate agents and developers, being paid “almost as much” as mortgage brokers in commissions “despite doing much less”.
The regulator described mortgage referrers as individuals or businesses that provide a referral service to lenders or brokers.