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John Symond tells inquiry: CBA bias would be irrational

by Nick Bendel10 minute read

Aussie Home Loans has said its brokers are influenced by “pricing and incentives” rather than a bias towards parent company Commonwealth Bank.

Executive chairman John Symond told the federal government’s Financial System Inquiry that lending statistics prove Aussie brokers have never shown favouritism to Commonwealth Bank.

Commonwealth Bank acquired 33 per cent of Aussie in 2008 and increased its stake to 80 per cent in 2012.

The volumes sent to Commonwealth Bank and Bankwest during that time have been consistent with their level of competitiveness, he said.


Mr Symond said Aussie brokers have a legal obligation – and a long-term financial incentive – to look after clients by giving them the best possible recommendations.

“[Brokers] have no rational incentive to favour the products offered by their parent company over another lender and will instead respond to any shift in market pricing and incentives,” he said.

Mr Symond also defended the practice of banks acquiring brokerages and aggregators, which he said had benefited consumers by delivering efficiency gains that had spurred competition.

“Aussie does not believe vertical integration is distorting the way in which mortgage brokers direct borrowers to lenders,” he said.

Aussie executive director James Symond recently told The Adviser that Commonwealth Bank had not imposed itself on Aussie brokers since acquiring a stake in the business.

“So far, outside of a higher awareness of risk and compliance and some of the paperwork that goes with that, there has been zero influence in the field with our brokers in particular with any sort of big bank interaction,” he said.

“CBA are a fantastic big brother to have. They are smart enough to know that if things are going well, leave it. I think that has been part of their successful strategy.”

[Related: Aussie reports record settlements]

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