Fraudsters are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to submitting falsified payslips for loans, the ANZ bank warns.
ANZ is refunding $5 million to about 320 car loan customers over fraud involving falsified payslips.
Senior ANZ executive Guy Mendelson says payslip fraud and the people trying to defraud large organisations like banks are increasingly sophisticated, ranging from very unsophisticated attempts to organised crime.
He says the bank has made a number of changes to better detect fraud following issues with falsified payslips and incorrect information for car loan applications submitted by two brokers and a dealer through its Esanda business.
“There is no silver bullet to detecting payslip fraud but we have made a series of changes since these incidents occurred,” Mr Mendelson told the banking royal commission on Thursday.
ANZ has been fined $5 million and expects to pay the same amount in remediation to customers who took out car loans through Esanda between 2013 and 2015, over a lack of verification of borrowers’ payslips.
Mr Mendelson said ANZ/Esanda handle about 50,000 car loan applications a year, estimating at least 50 and up to 100 involved payslip fraud.
He said fraud in general was a major focus area for ANZ, be it cyber fraud, payslip fraud or bank statement fraud.
“We’re seeing even things like something called ‘salary staging’, which is where people who are trying to defraud the bank will set up bank accounts and create legitimate statements, putting money in and out, and then presenting those.
“The level of sophistication in payslip fraud is improving regularly, so I couldn’t sit here and tell you that there’s any way that we could 100 per cent guarantee that there would not be payslip fraud.
“We are doing everything in our power to ensure this doesn’t happen.”
The Esanda case could have broader implications, given the Federal Court’s finding that ANZ inappropriately relied entirely on payslips received from the intermediaries when it knew they were a type of document that was easily falsified.
UBS analysts this month warned the finding could potentially leave banks at risk of being found to have also not sufficiently verified customer income in the mortgage application process, where the usual practice is to rely on two or three payslips.
Esanda was also caught up in a separate issue where a broker organisation substituted a loan guarantor’s information in the application rather than using the actual car buyer’s details, resulting in a $753,000 refund to 92 customers.
ANZ stopped accepting guarantors for car loans last year.
The bank no longer takes loans sold through car dealerships after the $8.2 billion sale of its Esanda dealer finance portfolio in 2016.
It kept Esanda’s $2.5 billion car sales business involving its own call centre and accredited brokers, but is suspending new loans pending a review.