Brokers were once again subject to negative press over the weekend with Herald Sun columnist Scott Pape telling consumers to “steer clear” of brokers and their “expensive” products.
Mr Pape’s advice stemmed from a recent Choice report which claimed borrowers could save thousands by avoiding brokers – but failed to acknowledge the real role that mortgage brokers play.
Phil Naylor, MFAA chief executive, moved quickly to quash Mr Pape’s claims, as he did with the Choice report, sending a letter to the editor of News Ltd which was published in several papers.
In his letter Mr Naylor said such comments were “ignorant” and showed “a complete lack of understanding” about mortgage brokers and how they are paid.
While Mr Naylor was disappointed by the attack on brokers he remained confident that brokers are, by and large, viewed favourably by consumers.
“It does upset people [brokers] as it attacks their wellbeing and livelihood, but consumers do not appear to be taking notice of such claims and are still turning to brokers in their droves.”
Mr Naylor said research showed around 40 per cent of borrowers continued to turn to brokers for their loans.
Brendan O’Donnell, Choice Aggregation Services chief executive, said misunderstanding of broker remuneration was to blame for such media reports.
“The media, and potentially customers, are often misinformed on how brokers are remunerated.
“The industry really needs to get on the front foot and make it clear just how broker remuneration works,” he said.
Leadership from the MFAA was crucial to overcoming the issue, he said.
Mr Naylor said the MFAA was committed to taking ongoing steps, as it has for some time, to support a positive image of the broking industry, however he emphasised that brokers remained high in consumers’ regard.
“Most members of the media do understand, it’s just the exceptions, such as this journalist who don’t.”
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