Sep 092009

So, the MFAA (Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia) has been seen to be doing what it should have been doing for more years than I care to think about.

Might I simply comment ‘whoop-de-fuckin’-do!’ Might I also say here & now that the MFAA is a toothless tiger, has always been a toothless tiger and Phil Naylor is nothing more than someone who can’t do, but is restricted to teaching.
I can express such sentiments because of my career experience of 36 years in the banking and finance game, because I’ve been a finance broker & saw little future in it for the effort and responsibility required and because I’ve never seen the MFAA do anything of genuine worth in support of the industry it purports to represent. The MFAA is a club, nothing more. It’s inhabited by bullshit artists who call themselves ‘finance brokers’. Anyone who deals with finance brokers on a daily basis, as I do, will understand what I mean.
It’s easy to become a finance broker. As Choice says, “you can be a panel beater one day and a mortgage broker the next”. A situation which doesn’t guarantee knowledge or understanding – proper understanding – of the legislation governing finance, nor the customer service ethos required to deal with members of the public who place their trust in finance brokers. Therein lies the true requirements for an occupation as a finance broker, in my estimation. Knowledge, understanding and responsibility. I often wonder, when we receive enquiries from finance brokers, just how many other aggregators they’ve ‘shopped’ their deals to while telling their clients all the while that they – the broker him/herself – is the one doing the hard yards in attempting to secure funding. There’s an awful lot of brokers out there who will come straight to someone like ourselves, who deal with non-bank and private funders on the harder deals, and then pass off the approvals as their own dedicated hard work. It’s rarely the case. In the current economic climate where banks hold the marketplace in a vise-like grip, your average finance broker doesn’t have the long-term banking and finance industry experience. At best, they might have been doing what they’ve been doing as a broker for maybe five years. The most recent five years, three of which were boom years. These days, knowledge of the industry and people within the industry hold more sway than technical knowledge imparted by a ‘scratch-the-surface’ TAFE level open-book qualification. In good times, trained monkeys can broker finance. In times like current times, it takes real knowledge, understanding and a sound sense of responsibility to be successful.
Legislation currently in the Parliament will not resolve the issue of predatory lending, nor ensure that brokers are as highly trained as they genuinely need to be. The legislation currently under review will only achieve what the existing Uniform Consumer Credit Code already provides. A framework which consumers can rest upon AFTER they’ve been shafted, not before. It will simply highlight the areas of the law with con-artists and fraudsters need to avoid. ASIC won’t be able to police the industry any better than the peak industry body, the MFAA, does now.
A jaundiced perspective? More a realist’s perspective. A realist with knowledge, understanding and a strong sense of ethical responsibility. I suppose that’s why I have no desire to be a finance broker again. It seems in the current economic climate and the present finance industry insofar as finance broking goes; those attributes are not sufficiently valued. Legislation and TAFE course won’t change that anytime soon.

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