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BFCSA: Aggregators say Lender unfair and dangerous: in defence of Brokers

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'Dangerous situation' for broker who lost accreditation, says aggregator

by Calida Smylie | 29 Apr 2014
Aggregators believe situations where lenders cancel brokers’ accreditation without giving a reason are unfair and dangerous – but unlikely to change.

A Melbourne broker – who declined to be named for fear of reprisals – told Australian Broker he had hisaccreditation cancelled by a major bank without explanation why. The man’s aggregator had been slow to help, suggesting he get a court subpoena in an attempt to get the facts from the lender.

The broker feels he has been unfairly treated as he has no chance to defend the cancellation – and two aggregators agree.
AFG general manager of sales and operations Mark Hewitt said the broker has a right to know this information and the aggregator has a responsibility to obtain the details.

“On the rare occasion it does happen [to AFG-aligned brokers], we insist on disclosure from the lender and then conduct our own investigation into what happened. If the broker is in the right, we will support the broker and if the lender is in the right we will support the lender. But everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

Hewitt said he has taken a strong stance on this in the past and has found lenders are normally co-operative.

“It used to be a semi-regular occurrence – we’d get a letter in the mail around four to five times a year – but now it doesn’t happen at all because the lenders understand I am not happy with them cancelling accreditation without giving a reason.

 “Tell that broker to give me a call and I’ll tell him how to sort the problem out.”

Outsource Financial CEO Tanya Sale said the aggregator should “go in to bat” for the broker.

However, the situation is tricky as many heads of agreement between the lender and aggregator have a clause where the lender can terminate the writer without giving any reason – this happened in the case of the Melbourne discredited broker.

Outsource has only had one broker who was discredited without reason and when the aggregator asked the lender for disclosure, it was refused.

“The banks just say ‘we can pick and choose who we deal with’, but unfortunately you still have to have those lenders on the panel,” Sale said.

“It’s a very dangerous situation for the writer – they may have been unfairly treated based on incorrect information, but don’t have a leg to stand on. That could ruin a direct writer’s reputation for no reason at all. And the aggregators are at risk as well, if the broker has been found involved with fraudulent activity but the aggregator is not told.”

Outsource would not withhold the cancellation reason from the broker if they got disclosure from the lender. “I’m a big believer of transparency,” Sale said.

However, she does not believe lenders will change their policies in future because they can be picky as to who they do business with.

“It’s a tough situation. I’ve heard of things from other aggregators where good quality writers have been discredited but they can’t even amend it. It could be something so simple which could be rectified, but the brokers aren’t given the chance.”
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