By Jill Fraser for Lending Central
The FBA’s national president, Peter White says the AIPB is acting in “a cowboy fashion” and that its correspondence style is “flawed and unprofessional”.
The AIPB’s Maria Rigoni retorts with “I cannot accept responsibility for Peter White’s interpretation of the English language”.
The argument is centred around the AIPB’s invitation to the FBAA, the MFAA and the ABA to participate in an open industry discussion about bank ethics, which the AIPB claims is adversely impacting finance brokers.
White told Lending Central that the FBAA will not participate in the public forum that the AIPB is proposing because it sits on very shaky legal ground.
The basis of White’s response is based on the fact that the AIPB letter did not name the FBAA members that it is accusing of engaging in practices that are “unfair and have no ethical, moral or best business practice basis”.
The AIPB letter, co-signed by CEO Maria Rigoni and National President Peter Flakus, infers but does not mention lenders. It levels its allegations at “a number of members of your organization”.
White told Lending Central that this led him to assume that the allegations were being directed at finance brokers.
He said: “We are a broker association not the Australian Banking Association. We have the odd lender but predominantly our members are finance brokers.
“My immediate assumption was, members equals brokers. From there I looked at how damning these allegations could be if this was taken outside our Code of Conduct and put into a public debate where we would all be held liable.
“Now I’m hearing that it’s all about lenders. But as far as I’m concerned that’s still an assumption. If that is the case the AIPB needs to revisit what it has written.”
Asked if he believes that the suggestion of an open industry discussion has merit White said it depends on the proposed structure.
“The way it was proposed in that letter, no,” he says.
“At the moment there is no structure to what they’re suggesting or how it’s meant to evolve. Our response would depend on any potential liability within the structure of the forum.”
White would not be drawn into a discussion based on the inference in the AIPB letter, that lenders are the subjects of the allegations, saying that his response was determined by the terminology in the letter.
Rigoni said that she is not interested in White trying to justify his response to the AIPB letter.
“I don’t want any more pedantic sidelining,” she says. “I want the industry to focus on what is happening to finance brokers and then try to resolve it.
“It’s time the finance broking profession was treated with respect and was fairly remunerated and given competent service.”
The MFAA has declined the AIPB’s invitation to participate in an open industry forum.
MFAA CEO Phil Naylor told Lending Central that the MFAA has already conducted a couple of industry forums and will continue to do.
The ABA has not responded to the AIPB’s letter and would not make any comment to Lending Central.