First rulings by the Dutch Banking Disciplinary Committee on revised mortgage advice

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On Friday 17 August 2018, the Dutch Banking Disciplinary Committee ruled on ten of the 76 outstanding cases in the revised mortgage advice proceedings. The ten employees, who are all working as mortgage advisors, have been barred from practising their profession for periods of two, four or six weeks, depending on how often they copied signatures.

Stichting Tuchtrecht Banken

Anyone who has taken the Bankers’ Oath is governed by the disciplinary court for banks, with Stichting Tuchtrecht Banken (STB) responsible for ensuring this process is carried out. ABN AMRO is committed to observing the Code of Conduct, and in fact itself put this case on revised mortgage advice to STB in June 2017, after labour sanctions had been imposed and the bank’s Conduct department had conducted an inquiry into the causes of the breach.

A total of 76 mortgage advisors had been found to be involved in these practices and it is not yet known when the other 66 employees will hear a decision in their particular cases. STB announced the rulings on its website on Tuesday 21 August.

Rulings in detail

The ten employees have been suspended from pursuing their professional activities, which means they have been barred from working in the banking industry for a specific period. The bank will comply with the rulings, but will take into account the interests of all employees concerned.

Previously, comparable cases had seen the disciplinary committee impose bans of at least three months, but this time the following circumstances weighed heavily in its consideration: 

  • The advisors were under pressure from the cumbersome processes created by the bank 
  • Managers were rewarding target achievement 
  • Employees had hardly any scope to flag the problems
These factors were brought to light in the investigation carried out by ABN AMRO’s Conduct department.

Frans van der Horst, CEO of Retail Banking, responds:

“We respect this ruling by the disciplinary court, even if we had hoped our employees would be let off with a reprimand instead of being barred, as STB had suggested to the court. In addition, I’m not happy with the fact that 66 of our colleagues still don’t know where they stand. That said, I’m pleased that these rulings don’t just reflect the earlier conclusions of our own investigation but that our findings played a significant part in the court’s ultimate decisions. As far as we’re concerned, we have now completed the last leg of this legal journey. 

“Meanwhile, we continue to work hard on the actions identified in our Conduct department’s investigation. Claire Dumas (Mortgages) and Klaas Ariaans (Personal Banking) have teamed up to run this drive.”

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