Speaking to Mortgage Business, Aussie Home Loans executive director James Symond said CBA’s ownership of Aussie Home Loans is not out of step with industry trends as banks own a share in all major Australian brokerages.
“Whether you are AFG or Connective or the NAB channels, I don’t think there is a major broker in Australia without a bank on its register,” Mr Symond said.
“It’s not who is the majority or minority owner, it’s the actions of the group,” he says, adding that any suggestions that CBA’s ownership of the group has led to a greater proportion of CBA loans being written are unfounded.
“If a broker out there thinks that by having a minor or major bank on their register means that Aussie is flogging CBA loans, that’s not true.”
Mr Symond’s comments come after a recent spate of criticism aimed at vertically integrated businesses where banks own aggregators.
In its submission to the Competition Policy Review, the Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) asserted that in a genuinely competitive market with real choice, consumers need to be able to easily understand the true identity of the entity they are dealing with.
“Major bank multi-brand strategies are intended to lure customers who don’t want to bank with a major bank and/or to compete against genuinely independent competitors without providing any benefit to the bulk of the major bank’s existing customers”.
“CBA’s takeover of Aussie Home Loans means that one of the leading mortgage brokers in the market is subject to the interests of the largest lender in the market,” the submission said.
But according to Mr Symond, CBA’s ownership of Aussie has not influenced the independence of its brokers.
“So far, outside of a higher awareness of risk and compliance and some of the paperwork that goes with that to be frank, there has been zero influence in the field with our brokers in particular with any sort of big bank interaction,” he said.