A clarification earlier this month by the ABC of incorrect information broadcast about mortgage broker qualifications does not fix the damage done to the industry’s reputation, according to the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA).
In March, on the back of misinformed reporting during the banking royal commission, the ABC’s chief economic reporter Emma Alberici stated during an episode of the clearly inappropriately named “Matter of Fact” hosted by Stan Grant, that “anyone can set themselves up as a mortgage broker, even a gym owner”.
FBAA executive director Peter White, who at the time called on the ABC to “publicly correct the record and apologise”, says the comments were clearly wrong and that Ms Alberici confused a bank’s “introducer program” with professional mortgage brokers.
The ABC on June 1 finally issued a clarification on a section of their website that few would even be aware of, as follows:
“Matter of Fact with Stan Grant: On 13 March, a discussion about the day’s events at the Financial Services Royal Commission included incorrect references to mortgage brokers. The ABC acknowledges that there is a regulatory scheme that applies to mortgage brokers and that ASIC has set minimum education requirements for brokers who provide third-party home loan credit assistance.”
However Mr White said this so called correction “on an obscure webpage that no one will read”, is an affront to thousands of small business owners who are finance brokers and provide a highly professional service under a strict regulatory environment.
“How such a high profile journalist can get away with such blatant misrepresentation of the facts and not be held to more account is outrageous,” he said.
“Emma Alberici should not only be forced to make a public apology herself, but the ABC should be doing a story on the fact that 54 per cent of Australians trust brokers more than the banks to provide them with the best mortgage advice.
“This journalist is a regular user of social media but failed to even post an apology, and the ABC should care far more that they got something so simple so wrong.”
He said the role of the media was to report the facts and not commentate on areas they know nothing about.
“The FBAA will not stay silent when the media provide information that is wrong, and we will keep working to build on the confidence the public already has in our sector.”