Aggregator encourages consumers to back brokers amid ASIC review

by Julia Corderoy18 Mar 2016
ASX-listed aggregator AFG has launched a consumer initiative encouraging satisfied broker clients to support the broker channel as ASIC gets its remuneration review of the industry underway.

AFG has created a website, MyBrokerMyChoice, to educate consumers about the review, highlight the importance of the mortgage broking sector and encourage them to take action and get involved to help.

The site features an online petition consumers can sign and provides consumers with email templates to contact their local member of parliament to express their support of the mortgage broking industry. It also allows brokers themselves to give their feedback and gives both brokers an consumers the tools to share the information across their social media platforms.

“The majority of consumers are going through brokers these days and we think the overwhelming majority are happy. We survey customers on behalf of our brokers and they are getting a really high satisfaction rate with consumers,” AFG managing director Brett McKeon told Australian Broker.

“After 21 years of being in business and experiencing growth year-on-year, if brokers weren’t doing the right thing then it would get out and about in the public domain and consumers would not be supporting our channel and we wouldn’t see the growth we are seeing. We think consumers would be happy to get behind us.”

The MyBrokerMyChoice website has already been opened up to the AFG network, however McKeon says he hopes all brokers will get on board and encourage their clients to use the site and show their support. The site has not been branded as AFG. 

“At the end of the day this enquiry wasn’t generate by ASIC, it was generated by politicians so it is really important for brokers to go back to politicians in their own right and spell out the importance of what we are doing for consumers and competition, but also at the same time if we can get the broker’s customer to go back to the politicians and advocate for us then that is the most powerful tool we have got,” McKeon told Australian Broker.

“We have not branded [MyBrokerMyChoice] AFG and we are happy to open it up to all of our competitors and to the MFAA and FBAA. If we get brokers supporting us outside of AFG then hopefully we can reach millions of consumers.”

AFG hopes to get more than a million consumers signing the petition and contacting their local MP. However, to do this, McKeon says it is important brokers spend time educating consumers about the review and how it could affect them.

“I don’t think consumers are overtly aware of [the review] at all, so I think it is important for brokers to educate them and the consequences of any change. 

“If they try to get a fee-for service it really would mean the end of an industry. It would reinforce the big vertically integrated banks and that is obviously not in the nation’s best interest.”
 

COMMENTS

  • by Broker 18/03/2016 9:17:25 AM

    If this enquiry was about client satisfaction we would all have nothing to worry about.

  • by Denise Brailey 18/03/2016 11:59:54 AM

    This is tragic for brokers because consumers are complaining approximately two years in to a 30 years loan. It's the lenders that are under fire. We have been asking consumers to continue to be friendly with brokers. They are both in the same boat of confusion. ASIC suggest brokers is to blame. We do not. Senators have held more than a dozen inquiries including into the banking and finance industry and no doubt more will follow. They want to know what the lenders were doing in the approval of unverified and unaffordable loans. Brokers do not approve loans.

  • by Broker SA 18/03/2016 2:02:37 PM

    Politicians don't seem to understand the value of the service that is provided to customers via the broker channel. If they did then they wouldn't be making the review in the first place.

    With supermarkets in Australia it is continually encouraged to have more competition so that the big guys, Coles and Woolworths don't take advantage of the consumer. Brokers introduce healthy competition in the way of non-banks and other lenders so that not all the business goes only to the big 4. We bring to the attention to the consumer options that they have when they look at their credit financial situation that they wouldn't otherwise know about if they just looked at one lender. Brokers do much of the work on behalf of the lenders, if we didn't then more staff would need to be put on and who knows maybe their profit margins would go down?! We spend much more thorough time with each client than would be possible at a branch level or solely on a on-line application.

    Whenever politicians do get involved and ASIC approves changes such as increased rates on investment properties, reduced commissions, claw backs etc the only winners seam to be the big banks. I can't hear them asking how it benefits the consumer at all, they are just worried that somebody is being paid for doing the job they are engaged to do! Brokers ensure that the big 4 have some healthy competition with the smaller lenders who have very competitive products.

    Imagine how much ASIC will lose with the closure of credit rep fees and licences if this killed off our industry?

    Where would all the brokers go for new employment? Back to the banks and lenders?