A look back at the year in mortgage broking

by Adam Smith31 Dec 2013
Another year is drawing to a close, and as we look forward to 2014, we also take a look back at a significant year for the mortgage broking industry. Here are the stories that shaped this year in the mortgage industry:

Quit the broker bashing
Brokers were enraged by a number of News Ltd articles by Jessica Irvine that suggested consumers could get a better deal by going to comparison sites, and that brokers had a conflict of interests because they received a commission. FBAA president Peter White fired back, taking aim at what he branded “tabloid journalism”.

Grim outlook
Australian Broker online ran a poll asking respondents if mortgage broking was still a viable career for new entrants. The results were rather pessimistic:

Yes – 24%
No – 55%
Maybe/It depends – 21%

ASIC’s New Year crackdown
At the outset of the year, ASIC said it would be keeping a keen watch on the mortgage industry. Far from the “friendly giant” Gadens Lawyers’ Jon Denovan had predicted, ASIC commissioner Peter Kell said the watchdog would take a tough stance on non-compliance.

Diploma tsunami
With the MFAA deadline for Diplomas having passed in January, association CEO Phil Naylor said in February that the group was sorting through a “tsunami” of qualifications, and that the vast majority of MFAA members had completed their upskilling.

Time for a breather
After spending the past few years coming to grips with new regulations and a licensing regime, MFAA CEO Phil Naylor said that politicians and regulators should hit pause on any new regulations and give brokers time to adjust.

The LMI fight
FBAA president Peter White said he was not giving up the battle to see LMI become transferrable. He said the LMI market suffered from a lack of transparency and a lack of competition.

Should brokers make house calls?
A debate was ignited earlier this year when MPA Top 100 Broker Mark Davis said he wouldn’t do house calls for clients. Some brokers agreed that having a client come to an office put forward a more professional demeanour, while some said the flexibility of house calls was part of what made the broker proposition attractive.

Still gloomy
The Credit Union Australia National Mortgage Survey showed Australians had yet to shake gloomy consumer sentiment

Will the economic outlook get better or worse over the next six months?
Better – 10%
Stay the same – 42%
Worse – 48%

Stop the blame game
Adelaide Bank head of lending Damian Percy said he was tired of lenders pinning the blame for productivity problems on brokers. He said lenders needed more standardisation around front-end processes, much like lenders in the UK and U.S.

Macquarie leads the pack
Macquarie Bank topped Australian Broker’s inaugural Brokers on Non-Majors survey. Macquarie head of mortgages product James Casey said the bank had worked hard to get the “boring bits” right.

Sifting through the spruikers
As the SMSF property market heated up, ASIC has warned consumers to be wary of dodgy property spruikers pushing housing as an SMSF investment opportunity. Property Investment Professionals of Australia chair Ben Kingsley said borrowers should check property advisers’ qualifications and experience, feedback from past customers and commission structure.

The Australian Mortgage Awards
The mortgage industry’s premiere awards event was more glamourous than ever this year, kicking off at Sydney's Star Casino. Some of the brokers who took home trophies on the night were:

Australian Brokerage of the Year – Intelligent Finance
Australian Young Gun of the Year – Leteisha Pileggi
Australian Broker of the Year – Colin Lamb

An eye on quality recruitment
Recruitment remained the predominant theme of the year. Aussie Home Loans kicked off a major recruitment drive, with plans to take on 150-200 brokers over the next year. Executive director James Symond said the franchise giant was proud of its track record of bringing quality people into the industry.