Nine ABN Amro staffers suspended on mortgage forgery investigation
ABN Amro suspended nine employees suspected of forgery on mortage files, the Financieele Dagblad reports. According to the newspaper, the employees are suspected copying signatures of customers onto modified mortgage advice in order to close the file. This was done without the customers' consent.
The bank already infored regulators DNB and AFM and launched an internal investigation invovling all mortgage records from 2013 to present. According to Frans Woelders, director of ABN Amro's retail operations, it is at this stage unclear whether customers' interests were compromised. "We have no indications of that as yet. But if it happened, we will correct it", he said to FD.
This involved cases in which the offer of the bank either differed from the advice an ABN Amro adviser gave to the client or was incomplete. According to the bank, this may include for example, the insurance linked to the mortgage being slightly higher or lower than set down on the advice. Ths does not directly affect the mortgage, which was often already issued. But according to ABN Amro's internal rules, the advisor has to correct this and share it with the client. The client signs to show the changes were discussed with him.
An audit department of the bank checks the records afterwards to make sure everything is in order. One such check revealed that an employee copied a signature on the original advice onto the adjusted advice. The bank then exained all about 9 thousand mortgage files since 2013, during which the names of 8 other advisors surfaced. The investigation is still ongoing.
Woelders calls the actions of the nine advisers "stupid and undesirable", but adds that this involves the violation of an internal adminstrative process. The internal investigation not only strives to determine how many times signature copying was done and whether customers were harmed, but also the motives behind the involved advisers. The administrative process around mortgage advice will also be reviewed. "We perhaps made it too difficult. Customers are not always willing to come to our office for a signature, especially if the mortgage is already provided. The don't understand it."