The MFAA’s policy experts consult with industry and stakeholders to develop policies and positions that inform our submissions to governments and regulators.
In this submission we provide comprehensive feedback to the Australian Retail Credit Association (ARCA) regarding proposed variations to the Privacy (Credit Reporting) Code 2014 (CR Code). We support the variations outlined in response to the 2021 Independent Review of the CR Code. With a focus on consumer welfare, we recommend the inclusion of Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) liabilities in credit reporting, emphasises the importance of positive Reporting History Information (RHI), and advocate for ongoing consumer education.
In this submission we articulate the importance of access to data for mortgage and finance brokers, which is currently fulfilled using screen-scraping technology.
While we support the Consumer Data Right Framework (CDR), it is our view that the CDR framework still requires significant maturity before it can be an effective replacement for screen-scraping.
In this submission we reiterate our support for the proposed Aggregator Assurance Program and respond to the ACCC's concerns.
In this submission we recommend that the scope of the Small Business Energy Incentive be broadened to include motor vehicles to allow for low and zero-emission vehicles to be eligible for this incentive.
In this submission we comment that the definitions of Initial and Large Providers can be improved to support the intended purpose of the legislation, and the timeframe for implementation should be well considered - and balance the competing interests of maturing the framework but without compromising data quality.
In this submission we respond to Treasury's CDR Consent Review Design Paper and support Treasury's approach in providing industry with an opportunity to allow for time for full embedment to occur for it to therefore be a viable replacement to digital data capture tools.
This submission reinforces previous recommendations the MFAA has made regarding minor and incidental breaches and acknowledges the steps ASIC has taken to address industry concerns, including recent efforts to streamline reporting for licensees through the ASIC Regulatory Portal.
In this submission we explain why the approach AFCA takes needs to ensure that it does not go above and beyond the law or respective industry codes to establish complex and rigid approaches to small business lending.
In this submission we state that our view is that AFCA’s approach to responsible lending should reflect the appropriate balance of protecting consumers, whilst maximising continuing access to credit for consumers that have the desire and ability to service their loans.
We also recommend the approach can be further enhanced to include how broker related responsible lending complaints will be considered, this would give our members clarity and consistency.
In this submission we give our support to changes to conveyancing requirements in Australia that streamline processes, including to harmonise requirements across jurisdictions, improve efficiency and progress digital lodgement. However we also raise concerns about specific aspects of the proposed changes in regards to mortgage common provisions (MCPs).
In this submission we highlight that mortgage and finance brokers are well placed to support the nation’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to transition to net zero by 2050.
We also recommend that the scope of the SBEI be broadened to include motor vehicles to allow for low and zero-emission vehicles to be eligible for this incentive.
In this submission, we support the introduction of a ‘soft enquiry’ framework that allows credit providers to provide potential customers with preliminary product information and an indication as to whether the customer would be considered for credit with that credit provider.
However, any changes must preserve the right of mortgage and finance brokers to act as access seekers on behalf of customers – this is a service that benefits customers and is an important tool for brokers in assessing loan options for their customers.
This submission provided factual responses to a series of questions from the ACCC on the processes involved when mortgage and finance brokers provide services to their clients.
In this submission, the MFAA supports the application for a voluntary industry-wide Lender/Aggregator Assurance Program for participating mortgage lenders to jointly procure assurance reviews of the compliance systems and standards of participating mortgage aggregators.
The notion of an industry-wide assurance program developed through conversations facilitated by the MFAA at the National Lender Forum and the National Aggregator Forum to address the multiple review programs occurring within industry.
In this submission we support a number of the proposed amendments, and call attention to opportunities for the guidelines to be further clarified.
In this submission we reaffirm our support of the adoption of full electronic conveyancing, including digital signing in Western Australia, and as such we support the implementation of all recommendations within the Consultation Paper.
Recognising the complexities of transfer duty reform for state governments, we support replacing stamp duties with a broad-based annual land tax. In our view, a broad-based annual property tax benefits all Australian home buyers and leads to a more efficient housing sector.
In this submission we recommend the Inquiry’s focus should be on how to best support those industries and organisations, such as mortgage and finance brokers, that are already filling the gap left by bank branch closures through providing the same and better services to regional and rural communities.
In this submission we state our support for the objectives of the Privacy Act Review, which is to bring Australia’s privacy laws into the digital era, strengthen privacy protections for individuals and streamline compliance for businesses working across international borders.
In this submission we highlight our concerns of an unintended consequence in the wording of the Draft Regulations which will make the law around the giving of pre-contractual disclosure documents more complex.
We also provide recommendations to further simplify the electronic service of disclosure documents under the NCCP.
In this submission we note that while we consider that the ETA generally operates effectively, we recommend that certain further credit-related exemptions be removed from the Electronic Transactions Regulations.
In this submission we suggest alternative approaches for the improvement of Recipient Created Tax Invoice determination and confirmation of supplier registration for GST.
In this submission we reiterate that for the reference checking and information sharing protocol to meet its intended policy objectives, the protocol should be extended to include aggregators that are not licensees of the mortgage broker.
In our 2023-24 pre-budget submission to the Federal Government we recommend this year’s Federal Budget includes funding for initiatives in five key areas of priority including competition in the home lending sector and digital innovation.
In this response to Treasury's consultation on Further improvements to Corporations and Financial Services Law we support the recommendations made by the ALRC in both Interim Report A and Interim Report B and the continuation of Treasury to implement the recommendations made by the ALRC in those reports.
In this submission we recommend that the option for BNPL to be regulated under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009 (the Credit Act) be adopted, including the requirement for BNPL providers to comply with the responsible lending obligations under the Credit Act and RG 209.
In this response to Treasury’s Employment White Paper, our submission outlines how critical the mortgage and finance broking industry is to the Australian economy and how important it is that our industry reflects the diversity that is Australia today. Our recommendations centre around ways in which Government and industry can collaborate to achieve this common goal.
The MFAA made submissions to the ASIC Industry Funding Model Review and to ASIC’s 2021/22 Cost Recovery Implementation Statement. The MFAA is supportive of ASIC’s industry funding model however we suggest that there is scope for improvement in the way in which its cost recovery levies are set, funded, and communicated to regulated entities.
In this submission to the inquiry on the Bill we state that we do not hold material concerns with the Bill. The adoption of our previous recommendation that the NSW Government develop a free publicly available website to assist customers to make the choice between the property tax and stamp duty was welcomed.
In this consultation response we detailed opportunities to improve user experience of breach reporting portal and technical amendments we believe are still required to enabling legislation.
We also reiterated our recommendation in previous consultations that aggregators be provided with copies of any breach report concerning their broker members to enable them to respond appropriately.
On 7 October 2022 the MFAA made two submissions in relation to the CSLR, the first was to the Senate Inquiry into the proposed Financial Services Compensation Scheme of Last Resort (CSLR). The Inquiry report has been released.
The second was to Treasury’s consultation on the proposed CSLR regulations.
While the MFAA supports the CLSR, we also note that with low levels of complaints and no unpaid determinations, we have made recommendations to ensure the scheme balances consumer protections with regulatory costs to small broker businesses.
In this submission, the MFAA provided comment on the proposed extension of the reference checking protocol to mortgage intermediaries. The MFAA’s continued concerns in relation to the structure of the breach reporting legislation – that there should be a similar extension of the breach reporting regime to aggregators who are not licensees – was also highlighted.
This submission noted our concerns with the Designation Instrument including the definition of non-bank lender within the rules which we believe should be reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose.
The MFAA recommendation in prior consultations that finance brokers be included as trusted advisors within the CDR framework was also reiterated. The current definition of trusted adviser applies only to mortgage brokers.
The Australian Government announced in January 2022 that the Consumer Data Right (CDR) would expand to Open Finance.In a move welcomed and supported by the MFAA, Open Finance looks to expand CDR into the non-bank lending sector, merchant acquiring services, and key data sets in the general insurance and superannuation sectors. The MFAA has made a submission in response to Treasury’s Sectoral Assessment for Open Finance Sector – Non-Bank Lending.
The MFAA has provided a submission to the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) review of the Legislative Framework for Corporations and Financial Services Regulation Interim Report A.
The report, which was tabled in Parliament late last year, seeks feedback on 16 proposals, and eight questions for reform. On request by the ALRC, the MFAA was pleased to make a submission to the review, encouraging the use of regtech solutions to make it simpler and easier for our members to navigate the law.
MFAA makes its second submission on ASIC draft regulatory guide on consumer remediation, emphasising the importance of a balanced and scalable approach to consumer remediation and calling for further guidance in relation to consumer remediation in the credit intermediation sector.
The Regional Banking Taskforce was formed to assess the impact of branch closures on regional communities. In its submission, the MFAA notes that brokers are already filling the gaps left by bank closures, and provides recommendations on how Government can support and partner with the broking industry facilitate access to credit for these communities.
The MFAA continues to strongly advocate for a national modern and efficient framework for the witnessing and execution of documents.
In its submissions on this topic, the MFAA made recommendations in relation to cross-subsidisation of sectors, scheme implementation costs and calculation of scheme levies. The MFAA is pleased our recommendation that the Government fund the scheme implementation costs was adopted.
The MFAA strongly supports the adoption of full electronic conveyancing, including digital signing for real estate transactions in Western Australia.
The MFAA remains concerned at the potential scope of the regulatory burden of the new regime and has engaged with both Treasury and ASIC throughout the process. The MFAA continues to advocate to expand the role of aggregators within the breach reporting framework including that aggregators are provided with copies of any breach report concerning their brokers and qualified privilege should apply to that disclosure.
The MFAA supports Treasury’s review and recognises it as a timely opportunity to identify where further enhancements can be made to ensure AFCA is operating efficiently and effectively for all parties. Our recommendations include providing a mechanism to appeal a determination and establish the legitimacy of precedent, and improving consistency in decision-making, to build confidence in the complaint handling system.
The MFAA generally supports the phasing out of stamp duty and the introduction of a property tax in NSW.
MFAA makes submission on ASIC regulatory guide on consumer remediation acknowledging the importance of the notify, investigate, remediate framework and recommending a balanced and scalable approach to consumer remediation.
The MFAA welcomes the National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Supporting Economic Recovery) Bill 2020 and considers it will ultimately lead to stronger customer outcomes, as lenders and brokers will have a clearer understanding of their individual responsibilities, including a higher legal duty for brokers. It will also enable a more efficient flow of credit, whilst maintaining customer protections.
The MFAA noted that a vast majority of brokers are small businesses and therefore it is vital that the costs associated with additional administration in reporting complaints be considered. The MFAA also recommended that IDR reporting be undertaken in a fair and balanced way.
MFAA recommends that APS220 aligns as much as possible with the Credit Standards so as to create a level playing field between ADI and non-ADI lenders, promote competition, and avoid adding unnecessary confusion for consumers and finance brokers.
The MFAA supports the Government’s commitment to improve reference checking and information sharing protocols in financial institutions (ASIC Protocol). The ASIC Protocol should include standards and processes that is proportionate, flexible and simple to implement. The MFAA also strongly advocates for the expansion of the Protocol beyond reference checking and information sharing between referee licensees and recruiting licensees to include interested parties such as aggregators.
In 2020, the MFAA made a number of submissions in relation to the Consumer Data Right Regime, strongly advocates for access for mortgage brokers in the CDR regime. By facilitating broker access to more comprehensive information on consumers, Open Banking will directly support better credit decision and access to credit by consumers.
ASIC consults on its draft regulatory guidance on the Mortgage Broker Best Interests Duty, providing ASIC’s views on how mortgage brokers may comply with their obligations at key stages of the credit assistance process. The MFAA worked closely with ASIC to develop ASIC’s regulatory guide.
The MFAA strongly advocates that as the Best Interest Duty requires a broker to act in the best interests of the consumer, mortgage brokers should be exempt from the distributor requirements under DDO.
The MFAA supports the retention of the existing test for Verification of Identify for mortgagors by mortgagees.
The MFAA strongly supports self-regulation, agreeing that self-regulation (in the form of voluntary codes) is critical to industry achieving better outcomes for consumers. There is a place for codes to be made enforceable, however there should be sufficient flexibility in the regime to allow for both voluntary and mandatory codes.
Amongst a number of recommendations, the MFAA strongly advocates for aggregators to be included in reference checking and breach reporting regime.
The MFAA recommended that the funding model for the scheme is based on risk and that sectors that undertake risker activities and are responsible for the bulk of unpaid determinations contribute to the bulk of the funding of the scheme.
The MFAA strongly recommends the inclusion of mortgage brokers in First Home Buyers Scheme, noting that brokers are instrumental in assisting first home buyers through a complex market.
The MFAA recommends that in the review of RG 209, ASIC clearly distinguishes between the role of the broker and the lender in responsible lending. Brokers undertake a preliminary responsible lending assessment however the final lending decision is made by the lender.
The MFAA makes a submission on the proposed design and distribution obligations.
Read the submission
On 26 August 2019, the Government released the draft National Consumer Credit Protection Amendment (Mortgage Broker) Bill 2019 and draft Regulations. This draft Bill was created in response to recommendations made by the Financial Services (Hayne) Royal Commission.
The MFAA engaged with Treasury directly and as part of the Combined Industry Forum (CIF) throughout the development period of the draft legislation. This exposure draft Bill sought stakeholder views on the draft legislation, the regulations and the explanatory materials around the proposed reforms.
In its submission, the MFAA noted brokers represented significantly low EDR complaints, demonstrating that brokers have robust IDR processes to deal with customer complaints. The MFAA also recommended caution on dealing with complaints made through social media.
Read the submission
The MFAA supports changes to APRA’s proposed changes to its guidance on the current serviceability assessment regime as it applies to residential mortgage lending in Australia. A single floor rate across lending products and customers is unsuitable.
The MFAA continues to advocate for mortgage brokers to be provided access to CDR data so that brokers can continue to support competition in the lending market.
The MFAA strongly supported self-regulation through industry codes and recommended that Government should only be given the power to prescribe mandatory codes only where there was a material and important regulatory gap to be appropriate filled by a code.
The MFAA made a submission to the NSW Government in relation to e-Certificates of Title, strongly advocating amongst other things, for national uniformity in e-conveyancing documents and procedures.
The MFAA responded to the NSW Government’s Consultation Paper on Easy and Transparent Trading – Empowering Customers and Small Business. This submission sought to clarify the MFAA’s position in relation to important issues raised in the Paper that were relevant to the industry.
The Association responded to commentary from major lenders during Hayne Royal Commission hearings, which sought to place blame for misconduct in home lending on broker behaviour, and push for a fee-for-service for brokers. The Association sought to remind the Commission, regulators and the public of the incentives driving major lenders during the Royal Commission.
The MFAA reacted strongly to an Australian Financial Review column titled “Flawed bank remuneration threatens financial stability” were attributed to a Deloitte spokesperson, who had reportedly questioned the legality of broker remuneration. Deloitte confirmed their spokesperson was misquoted and the AFR printed a correction.
Response to public conversation about the industry, and the entire financial services sector, emanating from the activities of the Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission.
The Combined Industry Forum (CIF) reported on a significant package of reforms as the mortgage broking industry worked on solutions to issues raised in the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s (ASIC) Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration (Rep 516) and the Australian Bankers’ Association (ABA) Retail Banking Remuneration Review (Sedgwick Review).
Industry associations and leading aggregator groups joined forces to conduct research that supported the value the broker channel delivers for consumers. The industry underwent change following a series of Government reviews, including the Financial System Inquiry and the ASIC Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration (Rep 516. While ASIC’s Review recognised the role mortgage brokers play, the industry needed to present a strong evidence base outlining brokers’ contribution to the economy.
The MFAA lodged a submission to the Senate Standing Committee’s Inquiry into Treasury Laws Amendment (Putting Consumers First - Establishment of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority) Bill 2017, otherwise known as the AFCA Bill. The Bill proposed the establishment of a single external dispute resolution (EDR) scheme, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority.
The MFAA had previously expressed that the existing EDR schemes offered its members choice and encouraged competition, which constrained the schemes’ capacity to unilaterally increase charges. In the MFAA’s view, an effective EDR system needs the support of its members, and so reforms that are not supported by scheme members - or are forced upon them – would lead to the degradation of successful mediation principles.
The MFAA lodged a submission regarding unpaid determinations made by External Dispute Resolution (Ombudsman) schemes and how the relevant complainants could be paid. The majority of unpaid determinations have been made against financial services businesses that have failed or been liquidated.
Complaints against finance brokers form a very small proportion of those lodged with EDR schemes. The Association’s submission therefore advocates that any “Scheme of Last Resort” should be funded proportionally by industry.
Representatives from the mortgage industry began a process to ensure that incentives and governance arrangements are aligned with good outcomes for customers, in response to ASIC’s review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration (Rep 516). These industry associations launched the formation of the Combined Industry Forum (CIF).
Read the full statement from the MFAA, Australian Banking Association (ABA), the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) and the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA).
Following its submission on 19 January 2017, the MFAA lodged a follow-up submission in relation to industry funding of ASIC. Following the Financial System Inquiry, the Government had decided that industry should fund ASIC’s supervisory capabilities, so the objective of the submission was to minimise the impact any levy would have on the continuing viability of finance broking in the Australian market.
In response to ASIC’s Consultation Paper 281, the MFAA made a submission to advocate that any panel designed to review individual conduct should involve senior and experienced MFAA members, given that a fundamental objective of any such panel would be that appropriate outcomes occur for both industry participants and consumers.
The MFAA's response to the key policy recommendations made in ASIC’s report on its Review of Mortgage Broker Remuneration.
Further to its January submission on the subject, the MFAA lodged a response to Treasury in relation to draft legislation on industry funding of ASIC’s operations. The response specifically sought clarification on broker business models and the potential for multiple licence fees; effective duplicated fees for those who operate through a company; and how transitional arrangements would apply.
The January 2017 “Sedgwick” report focused on the direct channel but included a number of recommendations to generally align direct channel remuneration processes with those of finance brokers. The MFAA responded that the current remuneration practices in place to remunerate finance brokers were fit for purpose and that the remuneration and regulation of “referrers and introducers” needs to be entirely overhauled.
The MFAA made a submission to Treasury’s Review Panel on the current services provided by the Credit and Investments Ombudsman (CIO) and Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The submission recommended the current scheme arrangements meet consumer and industry needs effectively and efficiently.