AFG Brokers find out what’s NEXT

That’s a wrap for another successful year as over 850 delegates gathered in Melbourne last week at AFG Next 2019.? Over two days, AFG brokers, lenders partners and AFG staff had a chance to explore, examine and understand what the future of the Australian broking industry holds.

Opening proceedings was AFG CEO, David Bailey, with a business-critical update on the future of our industry, AFG and the competitive advantages at the fingertips of AFG brokers as we move into a new era of finance broking.

In a special appearance, Treasurer of Australia the Hon. Josh Frydenberg MP, took time out to provide an update on a range of industry and economic issues facing the country and specifically mortgage brokers as we progress with industry reform. A timely reminder that reform starts on the frontlines as we move to articulate and cement best interests duties for customers.

Chris Slater, AFG Head of Sales & Distribution, laid down the future for AFG’s broker distribution network and an unyielding commitment to ‘world’s best practice’ as we shift to create a world leading finance brokerage model designed to strengthen and safeguard our industry.

In an unveiling of AFG’s newest technology roadmap, Holden Lai, AFG Head of IT Strategy & Architecture, and Matt Faries, AFG Chief Information Officer, took brokers through a reimagining of the current broker experience and outlined the core tools in development for AFG brokers. The newly designed technology stack will see brokers outpace their competition as they engage with customers in the ever-evolving digital world.

Closing day one of AFG Next 2019, our co-major partner ANZ brought to the stage Gus Balbontin, the former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet, who through a mix of humour, powerful insights and undeniably superior Latin dance moves, explained to the keys to simplifying innovation and empowering ourselves to think differently.

Through an insightful analogy that people are never ‘stuck in traffic’ rather they ‘are the traffic’ Balbontin showed that the very people contributing to an issue are often the same people with the power to innovate and overcome their own challenges.


Day two kicked off with an address from David Gazard, Director DPG Advisory Solutions, who provided insights into the Government’s implementation plan for the recommendations of the Royal Commission and provided a breakdown of what the broker industry must now do to meet the new regulatory requirements and clearly show the enhancements the industry has made to ensure that their customers best interests continue to be first and foremost.

Co-Major partners, Commonwealth Bank, and Macquarie brought us Craig James, Chief Economist CommSec and Craig Griffin, Macquarie Executive Director Head of Marketing, for keynote presentations.

Craig James provided an update on the headwinds and tailwinds facing the Australian economy and included an assessment of the factors affecting interest rates, the property market and general business and consumer confidence as well as providing his prediction on the Reserve Bank of Australia’s next likely interest rate movements. Macquarie’s Griffin, provided his insights into the three levers of growth to drive business efficiency, customer relationships and build enhanced customer experiences.

A highlight of day two for many brokers was the chance to look behind the scenes with a deep dive discussion featuring Annie Kane, Editor of The Adviser, and a panel of high-performing brokers, Bridget MacGregor of Vision Money, Dom Cassisi of Funding Options, Leah Busby of Blackfish Finance and Nathan Smith of Birdie Wealth.

Freshly inspired by the success stories of our broker panel, brokers launched into a series of educational breakout streams designed to deliver educational content around the growth drivers for business, compliance, business productivity and building new income. Breakout streams provided brokers with a new toolkit of skills to take back to their businesses and deliver enhanced service, experiences and outcomes for their customers.

The final speakers for AFG Next 2019 were the awe-inspiring Dr Craig Challen OAM and Dr Richard Harris OAM who retold the harrowing ordeal of the cave-diving rescue of 12 teenage boys and their coach from a flooded Thailand cave in 2018. In a triumph of spirit, adaptability and performance under extreme pressure, the doctors showed us that as passionate cave diving hobbyists they were able to apply their distinct passion, understanding and unique expertise to save lives in an unimaginably difficult situation.


In a fitting close to the conference we awarded our AFG 2019 Champion Broker award. Taking out the win was Dom Cassisi, who hours earlier had volunteered his time to take to the stage and impart his keys to success as part of our AFG broker panel. Congratulations to Dom Cassisi and the team at Funding Options!

Low interest rates and property market recovery drive record home loan activity

Australian suburban street

Home loan activity has rebounded strongly in the September quarter, with interest rate cuts and an active property market driving record mortgage volume, according to the AFG Index released today.

The Index – acknowledged as a reliable barometer of quarterly home loan activity across Australia – revealed a record $15.7 billion in lodgements in the three months to 30 September 2019. Volumes were up 21 per cent on the previous quarter and 11 per cent on the same period last year. More than 29,000 mortgages were lodged, the highest in almost two years.

The renewed momentum has accelerated the shift away from the major banks, with the market share of non-major banks climbing towards 46 per cent, the highest levels since the GFC more than a decade ago.

Multiple interest rate cuts this year combined with changes to serviceability have encouraged buyers back into the market, particularly customers purchasing their first property. First home buyers accounted for 15 per cent of mortgages during the period – the highest level in seven years.

The low interest rate environment has also cemented the trend away from interest-only loans, with record numbers of borrowers looking to pay down debt through a principal and interest loan. During the September quarter, 82 per cent of loans were principal and interest loans, the highest proportion in the history of the AFG Index.

AFG Chief Executive Officer David Bailey said “We have seen a significant change in the home loan market recently. Best-ever quarters in NSW and Victoria – buoyed by these record low interest rates, a rebound in the Sydney and Melbourne markets and changes to lending criteria – have fuelled the recovery in national numbers.

“The shift in sentiment is encouraging. With the impact of further cuts by the RBA yet to flow through the market, we anticipate the improved affordability will see positive momentum continue through to the end of the year and into 2020.

“There is no doubt customers are benefitting from the enhanced competition in Australia’s home loan market. Consumers are continuing to express a desire to seek out competitive offers. First home buyers, upgraders and mortgage holders refinancing have driven the market share of the non-major banks. From the perspective of loan volumes, we are now approaching a 50-50 split between the majors and non-majors. Something unheard of as little as five years ago.

“This represents a fundamental shift in the dynamic between lenders. Consumers are sending a very clear message that they want the choice and the transparency of a competitive home loan market in Australia and mortgage brokers are delivering.”

Non-major banks accounted for 45.9 per cent of lodgements in the September quarter, the highest since 2007. Macquarie Bank and AMP emerged as the big winners among the non-majors taking business away from the larger banks. Both lenders have more than doubled market share in the past 12 months.

Download full report here

AFG founding director Kevin Matthews to retire

Australian Finance Group (ASX: AFG) today announced co-founder Kevin Matthews will retire from his position as a Non-Executive Director after more than 25 years with the business.

Mr Matthews will leave the AFG board effective Monday 28th?October 2019.

Mr Matthews founded AFG with Brett McKeon, Malcolm Watkins and the late Brad McGougan in 1994 and has been an integral part of the company from its beginnings in Perth through its national expansion and successful transition to a public company in 2015. He became a Non-Executive Director when AFG listed on the ASX and served on the remuneration and nomination, audit, and risk and compliance committees. He remains among the top 10 AFG shareholders.

AFG Chairman Tony Gill paid tribute to Mr Matthews’ significant contribution to the company and long-term commitment to the wider industry during more than 35 years in the finance sector.

“Kevin has been fundamental to the success of AFG through both his management and board roles. In his time as Executive Director of AFG, he was responsible for negotiating and managing key relationships with banks and lending institutions, product development and the commercial arm of our business.

“Kevin’s passion for the industry and his breadth and depth of knowledge of the market has been an invaluable asset to the company. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Kevin for his commitment to the company and wish him well in his retirement.

Mr Matthews, who has relocated to London from Perth, said the time was right to step down from the board.

“I am very proud of the achievements of AFG as it has transitioned from a private company to a highly successful listed entity with a national footprint.
“AFG is in great shape and its strong financial standing leaves the business well positioned for future growth, with the flexibility to pursue potential opportunities. I remain very optimistic about the future for both AFG and the mortgage broking sector more broadly.

“The role the mortgage broking channel plays in ensuring true competition in the Australian lending market is vital and I am proud of the leadership position AFG has taken in highlighting the benefits for consumers.”

Mr Matthews is a former director and life member of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).

RBA cash rate decreased at 0.75%

For the 3rd time in five months the Reserve Bank of Australia has decided to reduce the official cash rate, this time to 0.75%, in a concentrated effort to boost the economy.

In making the decision to lower rates again the RBA has strongly reinforced its focus on supporting employment growth and boosting household consumption to restore inflation to within its target range of 2 -3% pa.

The RBA will also have been very conscious of the impact on Australia’s exchange rate and the competitiveness of our exports had it not reduced rates in line with global trends.

An AFG broker is here to work through the different rates available from our wide panel of lenders with you and an AFG broker is always available to ensure you have the right financial solution for your current and future circumstances.

If you’d like to have a chat about what today’s news means for you and your finances, please don’t hesitate to?get in touch with an AFG broker.