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RBA weighs in on RC recommendations

Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations concerning the provision of credit have been described by the RBA governor as “balanced and sensible”, with the central bank’s chief also providing his thoughts on proposed changes to broker remuneration.

In his address to the National Press Club in Sydney, governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Phillip Lowe welcomed the banking royal commission’s final report, noting that he was pleased with Commissioner Kenneth Hayne’s recommendations relating to the provision of credit.

Commissioner Hayne has not recommended formal changes to the National Consumer Credit Protection (NCCP) Act or revisions to the “not unsuitable test” to address concerns raised over the existing practices relating to the assessment of mortgage applications.

“The NCCP Act should not be amended to alter the obligation to assess unsuitability,” he said. 

However, the  commissioner called for amendments to the NCCP Act if the federal court finds “deficiencies” in the NCCP Act in its assessment of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s (ASIC) case against Westpac and its use of the Household Expenditure Measure (HEM) to judge the suitability of home loan applications.

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Reflecting on the commission’s recommendations, the RBA governor said: “[I] welcome the report of the royal commission and the government’s response.

“The commission’s recommendations that bear on credit provision are balanced and sensible, and should remove some uncertainty.”

Mr Lowe also welcomed the commission’s promotion of a service culture in the financial services industry as a way to rebuild customer trust.   

“I also welcome the commission’s focus on: the importance of service – as opposed to sales – in the financial sector, the necessity of dealing properly with conflict of interest issues, and the importance of accountability when things go wrong.

“These are all issues I have spoken about on previous occasions. Addressing them is central to rebuilding the all-important trust in our financial system.”

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RBA backs government’s broker policy

Despite expressing support for Commissioner Hayne’s recommendations relating to the provision of credit, Mr Lowe questioned the commission’s call for a borrower-pays model in the third-party channel.

Instead, the RBA governor expressed support for the government’s plan to phase out trailing commissions by 2020 while retaining upfront commission payments to brokers.  

“In principle, I agree with trailing commissions being banned and the payments being up front,” Mr Lowe said.

“I think the government is right to be cautious about going the full way and making the borrower pay.

“The Productivity Commission has written extensively about this. There are legitimate competition issues and I think it is worth taking the time to work through those.”

However, Mr Lowe backed the banking royal commission’s call for mortgage brokers to be held to a “best interests duty”, claiming that brokers “essentially are providers of financial advice”.

The broking industry has strongly opposed such changes, with industry leaders flagging the risks of structural changes to the broker model on competition in the mortgage market.

Find out more about what the final report from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry means for the broking industry, and what the next steps are, by attending the Better Business Summit 2019.

Running across five different states every Thursday from 14 February, the Better Business Summit provides brokers with straight-talking, practical advice to help them grow and improve their businesses in this time of change.

Tickets are selling out – so make sure you secure your ticket today to stay ahead of the curve and prepare your business.

[Related: Banks respond to RC recommendations]

RBA weighs in on RC recommendations
Philip Lowe
mortgagebusiness

Are you a new-to-industry broker in the process of growing your business? Then there’s some great news: The Adviser’s New Broker Academy is back in 2021 and will provide you with essential insights into cutting-edge tools, strategies and processes to fast-track to success. Don’t miss your chance to attend. To secure your FREE place, visit newbroker.com.au now!

Charbel Kadib

Charbel Kadib is the news editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.

Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.

You can email Charbel on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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