Nambucca Heads mortgage broker Stuart Garvey looks up from his desk as the Guardian News arrives:
"Do I have a business or not," he says wryly.
In the business for 16 years (three in Nambucca Heads), he is referring to the recommendations for his industry handed down by Banking Royal Commissioner Kenneth Haynes on February 4.
"When this started, the aim was to take care of the consumer, what Commissioner Haynes is suggesting is that people wanting a loan would either pay a fee to the broker or the banks … as it is now, they pay nothing, because it is the banks that pay us," Stuart said.
"This would see them pay either way - it's crazy!
"And you know what the result will be? People will go to the banks, because it's simple and their business will increase - the share price of the 'big four' (NAB, CBA, ANZ and Westpac) rose the day these findings came out."
Stuart also takes issue with the Commissioner's comments that "the lender is isolated, even insulated from what the intermediary (broker) does with the borrower" … leading to "cowboy conduct".
"This is absolutely not true - arrangements between the broker and the bank are fully disclosed, as are the commissions - clients see all of that in their documents, which are sighted and signed."
He said that apart from the 17,000 mortgage brokers and their 27,000 employees nationwide whose livelihoods are now threatened, so too are the prospects of the smaller banks, who don't have the luxury of the huge branch networks of the 'big four' and rely on brokers for business.
"This would kill competition, give people less choice and require them to do more running around, something we do for them now for no fee.
"The consumer is being ripped off."
The industry is currently fighting back, via its bodies, the Mortgage Finance Association of Australia and Financial Brokers Australia. Petitions are being signed and politicians are being lobbied.
"My gut feeling is the trail commission will go (payments from banks for the term of the loan), we could survive that, but we are fighting hard to keep the banks paying us."