The MFAA’s upcoming round table discussion between aggregators and lenders, which has been called to address industry issues, has been declared a charade.
Citing a lack of broker representation at the meeting Australian Institute of Professional Brokers (AIPB) co-founder, Maria Rigoni maintains that aggregators are not independent enough to represent brokers.
Referring to next Tuesday’s summit as a “get together that makes it look like we’re doing something for brokers” Rigoni says yet again brokers are being excluded from a significant industry decision-making process.
The crisis in service to brokers and the subsequent departure of growing numbers of brokers from the industry will be one of the main items on the agenda but Rigoni’s request to be included was declined.
Rigoni told Lending Central that she sent an email to MFAA CEO Phil Naylor stating that the forum needs “broker presence”. Naylor responded that due to attendee constraints it was judged that aggregator/broker groups would best serve this purpose and present brokers’ issues to lenders.
“We decided to focus on the key broker groups on the basis that they would get information from their members concerning issues they want raised with key lenders.”
Naylor is aware that a number of aggregators have invited brokers to offer suggested urgent matters that they want to see aired.
Loan Market Group director and chief operating officer, Dean Rushton supports the MFAA’s decision to channel the broker voice via aggregator/broker groups.
Loan Market Group executive director, John Kolenda wrote to Naylor urging him to facilitate a meeting of the industry’s “Top Ten Aggregators and Lenders” to try and resolve what he described as an untenable situation.
Naylor states that a decision to hold the forum was taken by the MFAA board at a meeting held on 3 April, prior to his receipt of Kolenda’s letter.
Rigoni’s accusation is that “aggregators’ hands are tied”.
“If they really had the capacity to change the current situation they would have already done so,” she says.
“Aggregators are not independent enough to be representing the brokers.
Whilst I believe that some individual directors of aggregators would love to see the scale of justice tip in favour of brokers aggregators in the current environment simply cannot afford to upset lenders.
“Aggregators have commercial contracts with lenders therefore lenders have the capacity to really hurt them financially,” she says.
These commercial agreements curtail their impartiality and usually mean “they don’t walk their talk”, says Rigoni.
“Brokers need to wake up,” she declares. “They don’t need banks. They need borrowers. Banks have too much power in this country and they misuse it and brokers are in competition with banks for borrowers.”
(Lending Central’s request for a media pass to Tuesday’s meeting was declined.)