The MFAA is the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia. It is the main professional body for mortgage and finance brokers in Australia and helps protect consumers by upholding and enforcing professional standards amongst its members.
Established in 1982, the MFAA has previously been known as the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Mortgage Industry Association of Australasia, and the Mortgage Industry Association of Australia (MIAA). The MFAA currently has over twelve thousand members from various lines of work within the finance industry. The members have jobs such as mortgage brokers, finance brokers, solicitors and property valuers.
One of the main objectives of the MFAA is to promote best practice within the finance industry with the intention of providing consumer protection. Since the GFC, it has emerged that the finance industry around the western world has not upheld best practice within a minority of its participants. Some mortgage brokers have been booted out of their professional bodies for bad practices, and in more serious cases, some have been jailed for fraudulent activities. The MFAA attempts to curb this bad behaviour by threatening to kick members out who engage in unscrupulous behaviour.
One of the ways the MFAA promotes good practice is through another of its other main goals - the provision of education. By requiring their members such as a Brisbane mortgage broker to undergo a minimum education before gaining membership, and continuing to stay abreast of contemporary issues in the finance market, the industry body helps to ensure their members provide good practice.
There is also a standard of behaviour that members of the MFAA must abide by. These standards also help ensure that consumers are protected from unscrupulous behaviour of finance professionals. These standard govern members' behaviour both inside and outside of working hours. Members can have their membership revoked if, for example, they are found guilty of committing a crime outside of their working practices.
Attaining membership in the first place also involves going through a vetting process. The vetting process includes a credit check and a police check. Each member must also be covered by a professional indemnity policy. Members must also be a part of a dispute resolution service such as the Credit Ombudsman Service Limited (COSL), or an approved equivalent.
There are three levels of membership for mortgage brokers; full membership, Accredited Mortgage Consultant (AMC), and associate membership. A member must be accredited as an AMC to be allowed to conduct lending activities.
There are several internal bodies that set and enforce policies the State Councils, the National Committee, and the State Committees. There is a member handbook available that contains information on The Code of Practice, the Constitution, Disciplinary Rules, Advertising, and Remuneration Guidelines, among others.
To protect yourself against bad practice, you should ensure that your Brisbane mortgage broker is accredited by the MFAA. Members are likely to act in your best interests because if they do not, they could be kicked out of the MFAA. If you use the services of a mortgage broker and you feel they have given bad advice, you should contact the MFAA.