The MFAA is constantly advocating on behalf of our industry, from minor issues to challenges that threaten our entire industry.
Over the past decade, as the mortgage broking industry has become systemically important in our economy, we have faced constant scrutiny. On each occasion, we have risen to the occasion, convening industry stakeholders in campaigns that effect real change and highlight the value brokers bring to customers, the market and our economy.
We represent our members to shape positive industry change, driving debate through active engagement with governments, regulators and other industry bodies.
The Best Interests Duty has been the most notable industry reform resulting from the Hayne Royal Commission. This unrivalled Duty is aimed at ensuring that broker and customer interests and expectations are aligned.
The Best Interests Duty is designed to further improve customer outcomes, and clearly outlines a broker’s obligations for every consumer who obtains credit assistance through a broker.
The MFAA engaged in ongoing consultation between February and June 2020 following the release of the Draft Regulatory Guide, before the updated Best Interests Duty regulatory guide was released at the end of June 2020. This included securing a necessary six-month delay in the implementation of the Best Interests Duty legislation to allow for the industry to respond effectively, given the impacts of COVID-19.
The Best Interests Duty came into effect on 1 January 2021 and its implementation was successful overall, due to significant training and preparation rolled out by the Association, and strong consultation with ASIC in the lead up to commencement.
Following extensive advocacy and consultation, the Best Interests Duty clearly aligns broker and customer interests and expectations, which leaves the industry in a strong position for future regulatory scrutiny and reviews of our industry.
The MFAA was instrumental in leading the industry’s response to a key element of the Australian Banking Association’s (ABA) Banking Code of Practice, which was implemented on 1 July 2019.
Following review of the new Code, it became clear that the mortgage broking industry risked a fragmented approach resulting in a duplication of lender training, and may not have served the vulnerable customers it was intended to protect.
We collaborated with the ABA to develop a single training module, designed so members could complete one module of training to provide them with the skills and confidence to help recognise customers in vulnerable circumstances. The collaborative effort allowed appropriate training to be able to treat customers in vulnerable circumstances with the sensitivity, respect and extra care they deserve.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, our support for members became more critical, both in assisting members to continue to service customers, and to provide advocacy and guidance on key face-to-face processes.
We were heavily involved in helping members to understand the implications of the new environment for their customers, and in working with the Australian Banking Association, lenders, regulators and Government to make changes that would allow mortgage brokers to be able to continue to operate in a COVID-affected environment.
This included helping our members to navigate the rules around face-to-face contact and the lender requirement that brokers conduct interviews and ensure Verification of Identity. By seeking legal counsel, engaging the MFAA’s Lender Forum and lenders Associations, we were able to help remove key obstacles to ensure customers could still access credit.
Beyond these issues, the pandemic continued to throw up challenges, as we worked to assist members with issues relating to contracts pending settlement and delays in processing applications and loan discharge.
The work continues as we enter new phases of the pandemic.
In response to the Hayne Royal Commission’s recommendation that mortgage brokers should be remunerated via a fee-for-service, which would have been catastrophic for the industry, for competition and for consumers, the MFAA and a coalition of industry partners launched the Don’t Kill Competition campaign.
The integrated national advertising and advocacy campaign featured mass media and digital advertising, public relations, direct-to government advocacy, and grassroots customer activation.
The campaign also drove support from brokers and consumers to amplify the message intended for decision-makers and politicians, by directing supporters to a dedicated microsite where they could provide their views.
In the backdrop of a challenging period for the broker industry (and in the lead-up to the Hayne Royal Commission’s interim report), the MFAA launched a national advertising and stakeholder engagement campaign to promote the mortgage broking industry and highlight the value of mortgage brokers to their customers and the economy.
The campaign starred Kyal and Kara, former contestants from The Block, and used television, radio, newspaper, digital, bus and billboard advertising, as well as a suite of social media content that could be shared by the Association’s 13,000 members.
The Value of Mortgage Broking report
The MFAA took a leading role in assisting the Mortgage Broking Industry Group’s commission of the Deloitte Access Economics Report: The Value of Mortgage Broking. The report took a detailed look at the value of mortgage broking and its role in the Australian economy.
Mortgage Broking Through a Different Lens
In the midst of the hearings for the Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry (Hayne Royal Commission), the MFAA launched the Mortgage Broking Through a Different Lens campaign to shine a light on the positive impact made by the broker industry to correct the rhetoric at the time.
Using industry data, the MFAA developed a fact sheet that highlighted the vital role the industry plays in helping customers and driving competition to ultimately benefit all consumers.
In response to ASIC’s Report 516: Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration and the third-party recommendations of the “Sedgwick” Review, and following consultations with Government, the mortgage broking industry established the Combined Industry Forum (CIF) to enhance customer outcomes through improved governance and remuneration practices in mortgage broking.
The CIF consists of representatives from