Former Westpac home finance manager banned after preying on the vulnerable

Former Westpac home finance manager banned after preying on the vulnerable
Former Westpac home finance manager banned after preying on the vulnerable

A former Westpac Bank home finance manager has been banned from engaging in credit activities and providing financial services by ASIC after he had allowed elderly, disabled and other vulnerable people to access loans they would be unable to repay. This was for his own financial advantage.

David St Pierre, of Mount Nathan, Queensland, has been given a permanent ban. He was a home finance manager at Westpac from September 2000 to April 2011.

An investigation into St Pierre found that, between July 2008 and June 2010, he engaged in the following:

Submitting loan applications for approval that he was aware included false information. They were supported by falsified documents.

Failing to prepare an authority accurately identifying the payee of a cheque. This resulted in a customer's cheque for $215,000 being paid into a personal trading account of non-office holder of Capital Growth International Club Pty Ltd (CGIC). During his Westpac employment, he was involved in providing loans to All About Property Developments Pty Ltd (AAPD), which is the real estate arm of CGIC, for part of a property development scheme.

Enabling and encouraging customers to borrow funds, from Westpac, despite knowing they would be unable to repay the loan if the scheme failed. This included loans to the elderly, carers and those suffering from disabilities. He earned a financial benefit from these arrangements in the form of cash bonuses on the loans, which were additional to his salary. ASIC notes that there were 12 customers under this section, who had limited financial means.

Despite this, St Pierre encouraged them to borrow against their homes, some of which were owned oturight by the customer, and to invest in a scheme promising returns of 15% to 25% per annum to investors.
These customers received monthly payments from the scheme, however these stopped just before a liquidator was appointed to both CGIC and AAPD in February 2011. This left them without enough income to repay their Westpac loans.

ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said this misconduct was very serious in nature.

"ASIC will ban people from the finance industry who act dishonestly and place personal interests ahead of those they service. Mr St Pierre's actions exposed vulnerable members of the community to severe financial loss and hardship," said Kell. ASIC acknowledged Westpac's cooperation in the matter, and said that they had been working to compensate the customers appropriately. This is ongoing.

St Pierre has the right to seek review.

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke

Jennifer Duke was a property writer at Property Observer

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