Commercial diploma “close” to becoming reality

by Madison Utley29 Mar 2019

An organisation that has long been vocal about its passion for equipping commercial and asset finance brokers to best serve their consumers is on the brink of launching its newest educational measure.

David Gandolfo, board member and president of the Commercial & Asset Finance Brokers Association of Australia (CAFBA), has announced that the organisation is “very close” to rolling out its diploma, which will address how different financial concepts in the commercial space should be applied to commercial customers.

“The reason that CAFBA has very successfully kept itself out of the gaze of regulators is that we’ve maintained an education regime and we’ve only allowed membership of CAFBA to people who have specific industry experience and qualifications,” Gandolfo explained. 

“CAFBA membership is a credential and a qualification in and of itself. It doesn’t just mean that you hand over a cheque. There’s a very big difference.”

In addition to its priority on education, CAFBA maintains a close relationship with regulators.

“We have regular engagement with regulators. We know what they want. We know the standard that they expect, so we exceed those standards and they’re happy with that,” said Gandolfo. 

“CAFBA has always been happy to drop the bottom rung off the ladder. We’ve continually increased our minimum membership standards and if you’re not happy to comply with that, we’ve been happy for you not to not remain a member.”

The method seems to be working, as brokers handle 68% of all the asset finance registers written in Australia through all banking channels.

“Brokers are taking business away from the banks, because the banks are descaling while the broking community in our space is upscaling. We have a minimum education standard that the banks, in fact, do not,” the organisation president said.

Gandolfo believes that a thorough industry education is crucial to securing the best consumer outcomes, a message he hopes to communicate to mortgage brokers considering diversifying their services.

“We’re always happy to have more members. Whether you’re in the resi space or in the commercial space, borrowers need an advocate. They need a broker who knows their way around and through the market,” he said. 

“But all I would say to them is: ‘Do it properly. If you’re going to be successful at it, you’ve got to do it the right way.’”

The complaint rate in the commercial and asset space currently rests at less than one tenth of 1%, and that is not a figure Gandolfo is willing to compromise.

“We’re not going to open the flood gates to allow any sort of diminishing of the standards that we’ve fought to maintain for the last ten years, but we’ll welcome people who are happy to honour that standard,” he concluded.