June 8, 2017 / 11:00 AM / 2 years ago

ABN Amro says 114 mortgage agents broke its loan application rules

AMSTERDAM, June 8 (Reuters) - Dutch bank ABN Amro said on Thursday that an internal investigation found 114 of its mortgage brokers copied, and in some cases forged client signatures in 2013-2016 in order to finish amended applications. A small number of brokers and their managers have been fired as a result, the bank said.

ABN became aware of the problem in 2016 and reported it to Dutch regulators, who agreed the bank should launch an internal investigation reviewing all its mortgage case files since 2013.

“Every copied signature is one too many and remains impermissible,” said Frans van der Horst, head of ABN Amro’s retail bank, who oversaw the investigation. “But, given the complexity we created for our people, I understand the dilemma we put our advisers in. As an organization, we are also to blame.”

Signatures were copied when final terms of a mortgage loan deviated from the initial proposal, requiring customers to sign again under the bank’s own compliance rules.

The incident is an embarrassment for the bank, which is especially sensitive over its public image after its 2008 bailout by the Dutch government. After shedding thousands of jobs, it was reprivatised in 2015, promoting itself as a reliable, ethical bank focused on serving Dutch customers.

Pressed for details on dismissals, a bank spokesman said several mortgage advisors and several more managers were dismissed.

CEO Kees van Dijkhuizen has cut dozens of jobs from the top three levels of management since taking office in January. ($1 = 0.8896 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Greg Mahlich)

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