19 Jul Trust me – I am a banker! – Veronica Morgan
Veronica Morgan asks the question – “Can we trust the banks anymore?”. In light of what we are hearing from the Banking Royal Commission, some people are wondering about the whole finance and property industry. Who can you trust?
Kevin: Well, if nothing else, one thing that the Banking Royal Commission has told us is that even those who we thought we could trust, we probably can’t. This relates very much to what we’re hearing, some of the evidence that’s been quite staggering that’s coming out of the Royal Commission.
It raises the question: how can you trust banks? How can you trust anyone in property? I’m going to discuss that now with Veronica Morgan. Veronica is a buyer’s agent, she’s from GoodDeeds.com.au, and is also a cohost of Location, Location, Location Australia with Bryce Holdaway.
Veronica, nice to have you on the show again.
Veronica: Hello, Kevin. Nice to be here.
Kevin: Yes, a sensitive subject, this one, about trusting the banks or even trusting anyone. It’s really very concerning.
Veronica: It’s shocking, actually. When you hear the Royal Commission, some of the stories that have been coming up, it’s absolutely mortifying. And it’s interesting that there are a lot of parallels, though, with what’s being talked about and the things that have been revealed, there are a lot of parallels with the property market and the property industry.
And in particular, the investment space and the property spruikers and the muddiness around what’s an advisor when it comes to investment property. I see a lot of parallels between the bank-employed financial planners and – using inverted commas here – “advice” that they’ve been giving and property spruikers or marketers and investment specialists who are actually pushing product.
Kevin: It’s been staggering to listen to some of the people whose lives were just totally wrecked. And it’s not just the banks; there have been some brokers and some investment advisors who have done some very shonky things.
Veronica: Yes, they have. In fact, obviously, the mortgage brokers are being to some degree, I think, thrown under the bus by the banks as well and are being blamed, where there are a lot of very good brokers out there, a lot of very good financial planners out there as well.
And I think that hopefully at the end of all this, it will be possible for consumers to easily distinguish between the two. And I think the idea of independence is very important, and I think that needs to come out loud and clear. But there are unfortunately some unscrupulous people who are always going to prey on the desire of some people to get rich quick, false promises.
Kevin: They are in every industry. And it’s not just the banks and it’s not just the brokers; there are lots of people who shouldn’t be there. But I think the companies who are taking this seriously, Veronica… And I had a meeting just today with someone who heads up a very large brokerage firm in Australia, and they are treating this extremely seriously, so much so that they’ve been terminating some of their agreements – and they have been for quite some time – if they found that everything’s not going the way that it should be.
Veronica: Which is great. I think it has to be hit hard. It’s funny; on the real estate side of things, there’s a Pathway to Professionalism Initiative that has been gathering momentum. It’s been spearheaded now by the REIA. And what’s behind that is really turning the idea of being a real estate agent into a profession.
I’ve been talking to some of the people involved in that and in their surveys of agents across the country – and I’m sure it’s very similar to brokers and financial planners – is that there’s a massive, wide gap between those who are really great practitioners and those who aren’t, but also just a lack of general training and mentoring, education across the board.
And as a real estate agent, we’re behind the financial services sector, which is even more scary.
Kevin: You mean in terms of credibility?
Veronica: Well, (a) in terms of credibility, but (b) in terms of actual education standards.
Kevin: I see what you mean, yes. Well, I know that John Cunningham… I don’t know whether he’s the person you’ve been talking to.
Veronica: He’s one of them, yes.
Kevin: John has been very strong… John is a wonderful real estate agent. He has his own business, Cunningham’s Real Estate. And John has really been pushing very hard for this, understanding that the credibility of how they train agents to be credible is just so important to keeping the industry alive.
Veronica: Yes. I think I mentioned when I’ve spoke to you before, I’ve just launched a new podcast recently called The Elephant in the Room, and we’ve been interviewing people like John. We’ve interviewed a number of agents – Shannon Whitney is one we’ve interviewed as well – where we’ve really dug into this whole idea of professionalism and why it is that the real estate industry has such a terrible reputation and what needs to change and the attitudinal changes, but also the whole standards of the industry and how success is measured, all of those things.
There are a lot of excellent agents out there who really do the right thing, and I think John Cunningham is one of those people who is a beacon in the industry, but there’s a lot to be done.
Kevin: There is. But thank goodness there are people doing it, and thank goodness too for the Banking Royal Commission, because it has unearthed lots of things that we were not aware of that no doubt are going to be fixed, and I think all of that is great stuff.
Veronica, thank you so much for your time. Wonderful insight. Veronica is from GoodDeeds.com.au. Thanks for your time.
Veronica: My pleasure.