Comparison rates want apples to be oranges

by BN29 Jun 2012

Fine, Resi, so ASIC says you’ve been bad.

Though you moved quickly to fix the problem and work with the regulator when it was brought to your attention, the credit watchdog (which is all about finding a few examples to make in the early stages of its oversight), found your website had a few issues with advertising comparison rates.

No good for consumers, right? Sure, but Resi take heart - you might find just a few broker supporters out there who are wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to comparison rates.

Why? Well, ‘cause the rates don’t mean much at all really, do they? After all, lenders can tweak them to suit themselves (whatever data they put in, gives you the figure spat out at the end), so how is a consumer to really get a decent comparison anyway?

And then there’s the refinance factor (who keeps a loan that long these days?), and of course, there’s that pesky mandatory disclaimer, which in itself states the embodiment of the problem – there’s a hell of a lot of variations to be made beyond the quoted rate when you take into account all factors.

In the end, the rates can be just as misleading as they are helpful – after all, any good broker could tell you that a manufactured rate won’t tell you about a great loan feature now will it?

While Insider agrees wholeheartedly with the principle of the rate and a comparison, consumers may not even be interested in the reality. As one broker put it on the Australian Broker forum: “If I had a dollar for every time a client has asked me what the comparison rate on a loan is, I’d have $0.”

COMMENTS

  • by phil.gt3 29/06/2012 11:43:00 AM

    Can somebody please explain in PLAIN English the relevance of Comparison Rates when we are told recently that the average loan size for Qld is around $350,000 and lenders tell us loans on average have a life of about 4 years! So given those figures, what correlation can be drawn with a Comparison Rate based on a loan for $150k over 25 years! What am I missing? I would rather ASIC clamp down on brokers and lending staff that write loans without disclosing on-going financial commitment! Yes, I walked from a deal recently where the buyer did not want to disclose all; surely there are plenty of other more important matters to pursue than C.R.s!