The association’s managing director has called on all brokers to monitor the mental health of themselves and of their clients.
Speaking to The Adviser, managing director of the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA), Peter White AM, has expressed concerns over the mental wellbeing of brokers and clients amid the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) 13th rate hike posing more financial challenges for borrowers.
The RBA’s decision to lift interest rates during its November monetary policy meeting by 0.25 bps to 4.35 per cent has garnered criticism from the mortgage broking industry, with Mr White stating that it is a “very disappointing outcome”.
“From research we’ve done earlier in the year, close to 28 per cent of people up to the age of 30 are already getting counselling for the stresses they were going through with their mortgages,” Mr White said.
“This [the rate hike] is only going to exacerbate that situation.”
Mr White flagged that the “stresses and strain” in the broking industry are an outflow of the financial hardship being felt by borrowers.
“It’s quite disturbing the impact it’s having at the moment,” he said.
Mr White has called on brokers to take care of themselves in regard to their mental health and highlighted the importance that it has not only for brokers themselves, but for their clients as well.
“If you don’t look after yourself, you can’t look after anybody else. It’s a very simply fact of life,” Mr White said.
“We need to make sure that if we’re feeling challenged that we reach out to a lifeline or if you’re an FBAA member, reach out to our counselling service, or seek out professional counsellors in these fields.
“Trying to deal with it on your own is the worst thing you can do.”
Mr White added that maintaining strong mental health is key to helping clients experiencing financial stress.
“We have a duty of care and obligation in regard to our borrowers, they’re part of what falls under ethical considerations as to how we conduct ourselves and how we then assist the borrower through various times,” Mr White concluded.
“We need to be mindful of many things. I don’t recommend brokers try and be counsellors for borrowers if they’re not qualified.
“But we do need to be conscious of these things because they are having an impact on people’s lives, and so long as we’ve got our own worlds sorted out, we’re in a good position to help out somebody else. At the end of the day, financial stress is one of the biggest causes of mental stress and mental health anguish for people.”
If you require mental health support and want to talk to a counsellor, free, confidential counselling is available:
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service: 1300 659 467
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636
If you are concerned for your immediate safety or the safety of others, call Triple Zero (000).
[RELATED: Borrower pain expected as lenders lift rates]