Mortgage brokers and non-bank lenders have attracted more than their fair share of unwanted media coverage over the past 12 months, with most claims focusing on the costs borrowers incur through using a broker.
Just last week The Daily Telegraph labelled non-bank lenders “greedy” and broker commissions “huge”.
Unfair or misinformed media reports do damage the channel’s reputation; however what activities can the industry undertake to better influence press reporting?
Lisa Montgomery, Resi head of marketing and consumer advocacy told Mortgage Business much of the problem stemmed from mainstream press journalists that don’t fully understand the “mechanics” of the mortgage industry.
“A lot of these journalists might not have written about finance before or haven’t been in the industry long,” she said.
Ms Montgomery, who's role with Resi involves considerable interaction with the media, also believes tight deadlines run by daily papers are also part of the problem.
“Journalists are often trying to get a story out as quickly as possible.”
Kristy Sheppard, senior corporate affairs manager for listed brokerage Mortgage Choice, expressed similar sentiments to Ms Montgomery.
“The centre of the issue is really education, of both the media and consumers,” she said.
Mortgage Choice often attracts press coverage for its consumer surveys as well as in proactive media statements on key industry issues.
As part of its media activities, Ms Sheppard said Mortgage Choice focuses on ensuring key journalists understand their business and what they are about.
“It also helps if you have statistics and figures to back your claims up,” she says.
Phil Naylor, CEO of the MFAA, said there wasn’t a huge amount of negative press out there but occasionally it seemed to arise as a result of a few fringe brokers.
“Occasionally it does happen and we try to address it immediately,” he said.
Mr Naylor also pointed to the MFAA’s research, which shows borrowers understand and value mortgage brokers.
“If consumers believed the negative press you wouldn’t have 40 per cent of them preferring to deal with brokers,” he said.
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