On the eve of the MFAA’s national convention it is timely to ask the question: why should brokers be members of a national industry association?
Over the years many brokers have told me they are only a member of the MFAA or FBAA because their aggregator or particular lenders require membership. In other words, it is a grudge purchase.
For far too long there has been overlap and confusion about the roles and responsibilities of aggregators and the MFAA. In many ways, the so-called full service aggregators duplicate or compete with MFAA services such as professional development, compliance advice and recognition awards. One thing the MFAA cannot be is the negotiator between lenders and brokers on such things as commission and clawbacks; they are the contractual domain of individual agreements between lenders and aggregators.
Whilst competition and choice are important, professional development is a crowded segment. Lenders, aggregators, sub-aggregators, branded broker groups, registered training organisations and the industry magazines all provide some professional development. One has to imagine there are efficiencies and cost savings for all parties and brokers (the customer) in collaboration and cooperation. The increased integration of lenders and aggregators should provide further opportunity and incentive for industry participants to seek synergies.
Throughout my 20 years in the mortgage industry, as a non-practising accountant, I have maintained my membership of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia. Why do I continue to pay annual subscriptions for an organisation that I have very limited professional engagement with? I do so because membership is recognised globally; it had to be earned through professional year studies and exams; and, together with other accounting bodies, the institute maintains professional standards and the integrity of my qualification. I also know there are services and resources that, as a member, I can utilise (some at an additional cost and some as part of my annual subscription).
As an industry association, the MFAA has evolved over 20-25 years, with its origins in the mortgage managers of the 1990s. And like all associations, it has responded and adapted to changes in membership, stakeholders, regulation and the economy. The MFAA website lists the benefits of membership as: industry representation, business services, professional development, marketing and networking. As an association it seeks to provide industry credibility, visibility, authority and unity.
There are many supporters, many detractors and many apathetic members of the MFAA. Its role in working with government is critical in ensuring workable legislation. For all the implementation challenges of the NCCP, it could have been much much worse. However, without critical mass in membership numbers and active members, the MFAA will not be the voice regulators listen to in the future.
Whilst not perfect, the MFAA plays an important role in our industry and its ongoing viability and contribution is important. If you feel disengaged or feel the agenda is wrong, make yourself heard, participate locally and contribute to a stronger, more vocal, more active MFAA.
I’m looking forward to the national convention. I look forward to the day when the majority of delegates at the conference are brokers.
Formerly the chief executive of PLAN Australia and ALI Group, Ray has 20 years’ experience in mortgage broking/management and insurance as an active industry observer and participant.
Ray led the launch of the RACV Home Loan in 1995 as a mortgage manager in conjunction with Macquarie Bank and the PUMA securitisation fund. Following three years distributing motor, home and consumer credit insurance through non-bank financial institutions, Ray joined PLAN Australia as national sales manager in 2001 and went on to become chief executive as PLAN grew to be one of Australia’s most successful aggregators.
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