Bank staffer who took kickbacks ‘jumped before she was pushed’

 

A Brisbane bank staffer who lied about pocketing cash kickbacks from a broker for referring borrowers, and tried to hide the payments by funnelling them via her spouse, has failed in her bid to claim compensation for unfair dismissal.

Belinda Wilson, a former Westpac lending manager, claimed to not know who her spouse was when confronted with records showing the cash deposits from the broker into her wife's account, and denied being involved in kickbacks at all, according submissions made by Westpac to a hearing by the Fair Work Commission.

Ms Wilson later tried to implicate her boss, regional lending executive Warren Lane, as aware of and complicit in the kickbacks, claiming he engaged in and condoned her practices, but he was cleared in a ruling by Nicholas Lake, a deputy president of the Fair Work Commission, who noted that Mr Lane "gave clear evidence he was not aware of the monetary incentives being received" by Ms Wilson.

Counsel for Westpac told the FWC hearing that Ms Wilson's allegations of impropriety by Mr Lane were "a post-resignation construct".

Westpac argued during the hearing that Mr Lane did not endorse or support Ms Wilson's conduct, but upon being told of it had immediately reported it to his superiors for potential investigation.

Ms Wilson resigned from her job at Westpac on January 23 last year after 13 years with the bank after she was accused of receiving cash for referring customers - who were denied credit and services by Westpac, having failed to meet their lending criteria - to a third-party broker who could get loans for them, the FWC decision states.

Ms Wilson filed an unfair dismissal application with the FWC in Brisbane, alleging she had been constructively dismissed and had not voluntarily resigned.

But in his decision FWC deputy president Mr Lake found Ms Wilson decided to "jump before she was pushed" when she quit on January 23.

Mr Lake ruled that by resigning Ms Wilson gained the ability to state that she resigned from her employment, but gave up the right to claim for unfair dismissal.

Her resignation came eight days after a show cause meeting with Mr Lane where she was notified that the allegations against her were substantiated.

Ms Wilson is alleged to have behaved with "palpable dishonesty" during the investigation process by both lying about her knowledge of the scheme and also in taking the kickbacks, in clear breach of bank policy, Westpac submitted to the FWC.

She admitted to receiving kickbacks in her second interview with bank internal investigators, Westpac stated in their closing submissions to the FWC.

She allegedly commented to the internal investigator that she was "f***ed", after having made the alleged admissions in the interview, Westpac submitted to the hearing held in Brisbane.

Originally published as Bank staffer who took kickbacks 'jumped before she was pushed'

 


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