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Aussie Home Loans reported for misleading and deceptive claims

Complaint to ASIC shows mortgage brokers making big promises, but failing best interests of Australians.

As the Federal Government is preparing to legislate the recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission, consumer group CHOICE says that Australia's largest mortgage broker Aussie Home Loans has engaged in misleading and deceptive advertising in a complaint to ASIC.

"Aussie Home Loans is a well-disguised sales outpost for the Commonwealth Bank," says CHOICE CEO Alan Kirkland.

"Aussie Home Loans makes claims of finding Australians the 'perfect loan' or the 'best loan', yet ASIC research found it sent two in five loans straight back to the Commonwealth Bank. (1) Aussie is making big promises to create the illusion that it operates in your best interests but there is no evidence that they will get you the "best" loan. 

"CHOICE supporters helped us investigate this misleading marketing, and the evidence they found shows that it's clearer than ever that the words of mortgage brokers don't match their actions." (Examples available in Editor's Notes below) 

"ASIC must rein this industry in. We also urgently need the strong laws promised by the Federal Government to force mortgage brokers to act in their customer's best interests."

ASIC complaint

CHOICE's complaint asks ASIC to investigate Aussie's misleading and deceptive claims.

"People need to have confidence that mortgage broking advertisements are truthful and accurately reflect the services that the industry provides," says Kirkland.

"CHOICE is concerned that people who have seen these ads are likely to have formed the incorrect impression that mortgage brokers will scan the market to find them a high-quality loan, when the industry has failed to achieve this. ASIC, as the regulator, needs to investigate the claims of the mortgage broking sector and hold them to account. The recommendations of the Banking Royal Commission will amount to nothing if the regulator doesn't have the resources and support to act."

Support the passage of the best interests 

CHOICE is calling on all politicians to support the passage of the mortgage broker best interests duty, with laws expected to be introduced into parliament this year. This is an important centrepiece of the Hayne Royal Commission's recommendations.

"The Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has created a rare opportunity to reform the mortgage broking industry. A strong best interests duty, well enforced, will make brokers live up to the promises they already make to their customers," says Kirkland.

CHOICE is also calling on the government to strengthen civil penalties for lenders and licensees who break the law.

"For larger licensees, such as Aussie Home Loans, the current proposed penalty is too small and will be viewed as a slap on the wrist. Penalties need to be beefed up to at least $10.5 million."

CHOICE's complaint to ASIC is available for download here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/18gxgsul473h5kw/AAAPfZKYMYI4rKd3XbGmMhdYa?dl=0

Media contact: Jonathan Brown, media@choice.com.au, 0430 172 669

Editor's notes:

Aussie Home Loan claims:

Over a week period between 7 November - 14 November, CHOICE supporters investigated advertising claims within the mortgage broking industry that appeared to be misleading and deceptive. Below are a sample of Aussie Home Loans advertising claims that they found:

"Our team of 5 fully qualified Aussie Mortgage Brokers can search hundreds of loans from lenders and banks alike to find one that's perfect for you." (2)

"We'll save you! We can compare home loans from a large panel of lenders to find a better deal for you." (3)

"Find the best mortgage rate by comparing from over 3000+ home loans." (4)

"We'll save you! We can compare home loans from a large panel of lenders to find a better deal for you." (5) 

"Aussie will shop around to find you the best deal which could save you thousands." (6)

(1) ASIC REP 516 Review of mortgage broker remuneration, p.18

(2) https://www.aussie.com.au/find-store/wa/belmont.html
Accessed Thursday 7 November 2019, images available on request

(3) https://www.truelocal.com.au/business/aussie-home-loans/menai

 Accessed Tuesday 12 November 2019, images available on request

(4) Aussie Home Loans, Google advertisement
Thursday 14 November 2019, images available on request

(5) https://www.truelocal.com.au/business/aussie-home-loans/menai

 Accessed Tuesday 12 November 2019, images available on request

(6) Aussie Northern Reviews radio advertisement,Triple Z FM

Wednesday November 6, 2019, audio available on request