Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told brokers that he will “keep working” with industry on “how to get the right answer” to ensure that broking has a “strong and viable future”.
At an industry gathering in Perth last week, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that he, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Attorney-General Christian Porter were working on creating a “strong and vibrant future” for the industry.
When asked a question regarding how the Prime Minister intended on supporting brokers, Mr Morrison told the attendees: “[I]’ve been in Parliament now – this is my twelfth year – and at not one time during that period have I had someone walk into my office and say, ‘I’ve got a real problem with my mortgage broker’. Never happened.
“Because, I think, people have trusted their mortgage brokers. Before mortgage brokers, you basically had to deal with the bank, and that is not the same thing.
“Mortgage brokers, I think, have enabled competition to come into the Australian banking system … [to ensure that] all homeowners can get a better deal.”
Noting that the “vast majority” of brokers were sole operators and “community-based businesses”, Mr Morrison said that brokers were “looking after their communities when dealing with the banks. We get that,” he said.
“We understand who we are dealing with. We are not dealing with large multinationals, or anything like this, we are dealing with good-hearted people who are living and working in their communities. Their clients are their neighbours.”
He said: "This is important, very important, so we get that."
Noting that the royal commission recommendations were “a bit of a surprise”, Mr Morrison said that the government was taking Commissioner Hayne's recommendations “incredibly seriously” but added: “[We] are very aware that we need to resolve this issue in a way [that] enables brokers to have certainty about how they provide services to their customers and continue to provide that tension in the core mortgage market in Australia.”
Mr Morrison concluded: “We’re going to keep working with you guys about how to get the right answer here, but know that the answer is going to be based on ensuring you have a strong and vibrant future in the industry.”
The gathering was attended by Loan Market's executive chairman Sam White as well as Loan Market Ellenbrook brokers Brett and Tania Richardson.
Following the discussion, Mr White commented: “What’s become clear is that the work brokers have done, advocating and educating politicians, is working.
“We have been really heartened by how many politicians are listening to how we work and the value we provide. In particular, we found that the Attorney-General to be aware of the current structure of our industry and the challenges that may be posed to it by Labor’s policy.
“As we have said all along, our key ambition is keep our industry sustainable.”
Mr White reportedly reiterated to the Prime Minister in a private meeting the reasons why the current model works for customers.
“Myself and Brett (Richardson) stressed the importance of sustainability to our industry. We outlined how Labor’s proposal could potentially change the fabric of our industry and how we look after customers – not just at the point of when they get their mortgage – but ongoing,” Mr White said.
“Trail encourages us look after the client, by fixing a problem with their current bank. And if we are unable to do that, help them move to another.
“The Prime Minister understands the crucial role brokers play in the communities,” the Loan Market chairman added.
In conclusion, Mr White said he understood the anxiety felt by brokers, but was convinced the lobbying and education being done was working.
“I encourage everyone to continue this great work educating their MPs and communities right up the the election - maintain the rage.
“When combined with the tireless efforts of both MFAA and FBAA, I continue to be confident in the viability and sustainability and our ability to continue to deliver great outcomes.”
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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