ASIC site removes broker bashing

by Adam Smith16 Nov 2011

An ASIC consumer site which previously warned consumers they may be better off dealing with a lender than going through a broker has been changed to cast brokers in a more favourable light.

The MoneySmart website, which has been named the best government website at the Australian Web Awards, previously included a "Smart tip" which warned borrowers that brokers were under no obligation to find borrowers a better deal, and said borrowers could be better off dealing directly with lenders. MFAA chief executive Phil Naylor told Australian BrokerNews in September that the warning was "a relic of the past before NCCP," and said the MFAA was requesting that ASIC remove or re-word the warning.

The site has now been changed, with the offending "Smart tip" now altered to advise borrowers to "shop around" themselves, as well as use a broker. Rather than implying that brokers may not offer the best deal, the site's copy now points out that brokers do not have access to all lenders or products.

The MoneySmart site also informs borrowers that brokers can offer a variety of loan options, and can help select loans and manage the mortgage process through to settlement. Borrowers are told that "a finance or mortgage broker can save you time and money, but you should still do your own research".

The site has drawn traction with borrowers, with a Sweeney Research survey indicating 82% of visitors found the site useful and 91% took some further action as a result of visiting the site. ASIC chair Greg Medcraft said more than one million people had visited MoneySmart since its launch.

"We have received great feedback from a wide cross-section of people who have used the website. It’s fantastic to also have praise from web experts and I thank the Australian Web Awards for their endorsement," he said.

Related stories:

No stress: MFAA to join ASIC campaign