NAB has refuted suggestions that its recent move to fire 20 bankers from its credit risk department was linked to fraudulent activities brought to light during the royal commission.
Earlier this week, it was suggested by some media outlets that recent job losses at the bank were the result of misconduct revealed during the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
Last month, the commission alleged that NAB employees were “bribed” by third-party introducers to turn a blind eye to falsified documentation on loans, with one whistle-blower suggesting that “money exchanges hands in cash in envelopes — white envelopes, usually over the counter”.
It was alleged that the deposits were “happening on a daily or weekly basis and ha[ve] been happening for a number of years”.
While NAB has admitted to failures in detecting introducer fraud, it released a statement this week arguing that credit-risk job losses at the bank were not related to this case study.
Instead, the job losses are said to be part of a “realigning” of the credit risk teams into a single function.
A NAB spokesperson said: “Any suggestion that the changes in credit risk, including any loss of jobs, are linked to our introducer program case study covered by the royal commission is false.
“As we announced at our full-year results last year, NAB is accelerating its strategy including investing an estimated additional $1.5 billion into the business over three years and reshaping our workforce to become simpler and faster for our customers.
“As part of simplifying our bank, we announced 6,000 people would be leaving, with 2,000 new roles being created.”
The bank added that, as part of these changes, it was also “adopting a new operating model for the risk function”.
The spokesperson elaborated: “This include[s] realigning NAB’s credit risk teams into a single function. This means some roles in risk, including credit risk, need to change or are no longer needed. As a result, some people have left or will be leaving us.”
The bank concluded: “Our commitment is to support them and treat them with care and respect through this process.
“The changes also mean we are recruiting specialised skills and expertise into risk like data analytics and credit automation to further support our customers in priority segments.”
NAB in the spotlight
The bank has been in the headlines recently, with news breaking this week that police raids have been undertaken in Sydney over a corporate fraud case coming under the unit Strike Force Napthali.
Detectives are appealing for information that may assist an investigation of allegations of a multimillion-dollar corporate fraud involving a former NAB “supplier”.
Further, the bank recently admitted to a lack of accountability, “gaps” in its governance and a “lack of due diligence oversight” when it came to its introducer program.
Investigations under Strike Force Napthali are ongoing and the police are urging anyone with information that may assist Strike Force Napthali detectives with their inquiries to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page.