Sept 09, 2015 | James Mitchell| The Adviser

http://www.theadviser.com.au/breaking-news/32975-mortgage-changes-will-be-constant-says-broker-head

The general manager of mortgage broking at one of Australia’s largest banks has cautioned brokers to prepare for ongoing regulatory changes.

Addressing brokers at the St.George Bank Flame Forum 2015 in Melbourne on Monday, St.George general manager, mortgage broking, Clive Kirkpatrick, said that with the changing environment, we are now in what the economists are calling the ‘new normal’.

“Something that has impacted us all has been the increased pace of regulatory change and the focus that the regulatory bodies are placing on the banks and yourselves.

“Change is going to be constant and our regulatory environment will continue to change,” he said, adding that the Murray Inquiry remains a key issue on the horizon, the impact of which remains uncertain.

Mr Kirkpatrick said that APRA would continue its focus on different types of loan growth, particularly investor loans.

“In addition, ASIC is lifting its focus on responsible lending,” he said.

“So I think you need to be very mindful of the quality of your conversations and record-keeping.”

Mortgage brokers should ensure that their note-taking around all conversations is “robust” and maintain “a great record of any conversation you have with your clients”, Mr Kirkpatrick said. “The regulator will be continually focusing on that.”

While regulatory changes continue to put pressure on banks and brokers, a complex lending environment has created an opportunity to guide borrowers through the confusion, Mr Kirkpatrick said.

“At this point in time, being a broker puts you in one of the best positions in years,” he said. “When there is a lot of ambiguity and confusion in the marketplace, that is where a really good broker becomes even better. I think the next 12 months is going to be a fantastic 12 months for broking.

“All banks are moving at different speeds around change, which means you and your teams need to be focused on what’s going on.”