The Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) has publicly decried consumer group CHOICE, highlighting the irony of an organisation launched to protect the interests of Australians instead disseminating inaccurate and harmful advice.
According to FBAA managing director Peter White, the group’s ongoing campaign against finance and mortgage brokers has failed to harm the industry and is instead hurting CHOICE’s own reputation.
“CHOICE is no longer a consumer advocacy group, but an activist group, and it is misleading Australians in subjects it knows nothing about,” said White.
Most recently, CHOICE targeted Aussie Home Loans, claiming it’s a “prime offender” exemplifying the widespread issue of mortgage broking businesses misleading home loan customers by claiming they can find the best deal.
CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland went so far as to say, Aussie is a "well-disguised sales outpost for the Commonwealth Bank."
"Aussie makes claims of finding Australians the 'perfect loan' or the 'best loan', yet ASIC research found it sent two in five loans straight back to CBA," he added.
To White, the criticism holds no clout.
“It’s pretty clear from the backgrounds of its key staff that these people have no experience or expertise in mortgage broking, so their information and so-called advice is meaningless and, in fact, dangerous,” said White.
“Australians are smart people, and given over 60% of home loans are written by brokers, it’s clear that people are ignoring this activist group’s biased advice. It's eroding trust in its own brand through its dishonest comments.”
In fact, White says CHOICE’s own website drives home its lack of credibility.
“Right now, it’s reviewing washing machines, pressure cleaners, smartphones, sanitary pads, kitchen cleaners and high chairs.
“A lead story is about Black Friday shopping tips and [another] asks, ‘Should you buy a highchair from K-mart, Target or Ikea?
“These reviews serve a specific purpose, but I think anyone can see there is a massive difference between a pressure cleaner and a $450,000 mortgage.”
White acknowledged that activists with social and political agendas certainly have their place, but he stressed how crucial it is they do not “masquerade as legitimate and objective” advisers.
“The CHOICE website currently gives ‘Dettol Healthy Clean Kitchen’ an 84% rating. Maybe it should use this product to disinfect itself because right now the people at CHOICE are playing a very dirty game," he finished.