Mortgage industry rallies to support bushfire victims

Mortgage industry rallies to support bushfire victims

13 January 2020

Mortgage brokerages, aggregators and industry bodies have launched a fundraising campaign via the Red Cross to support the individuals and communities affected by the ongoing bushfire crisis.

Australian bushfires

The Australian bushfire crisis has claimed lives, decimated wildlife and bushland, destroyed hundreds of properties and displaced thousands of people.

Several leading brokerages across Australia – in tandem with aggregation groups and industry associations – have jointly launched a mortgage broker-backed fundraising campaign to help support those in need during the active bushfire emergencies.

The ongoing bushfire crisis across Australia – which has claimed the lives of at least 28 people, decimated wildlife and bushland, destroyed hundreds of properties and displaced thousands of people – heightened over the holiday period, with hundreds of fires still burning in several states and impacting air quality across the nation.

Given the ongoing challenges faced by thousands of Australians and resource restraints hampering emergency and volunteer services, several players in the mortgage broking industry have joined forces to raise funds for affected communities.

The Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief was first launched by a collective of brokers to raise funds for the Red Cross’ Disaster and Recover Relief fund.

With an initial target of $100,000, the fund quickly gained support from across the mortgage and finance industry, with players large and small contributing to the cause from across the industry.

Notably, three national brokerage brands – Aussie, Loan Market and Mortgage Choice – each donated $100,000 to the cause, which resulted in the appeal extending its target to $750,000. More than half of this amount had been raised at the time of writing.

Aggregation groups and lenders have also committed to supporting the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund, and the drive is being supported by the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) and the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA).

One of the founding members of the appeal, Jeremy Fisher of 1st Street Financial, commented: “Since launching the relief appeal, I have been humbled by the generosity our industry has shown to support those in need and help rebuild fire-devastated communities.

“I am delighted to hand the baton over to our industry associations to further enhance the appeal’s reach and help more people through our combined efforts. After all, that’s what this is all about.”

Speaking on behalf of Aussie, CEO James Symond said: “We've been devastated to see the impact of the bushfires around the country and our thoughts are with those affected.

“There has already been an amazing response across Australia and internationally to donate to this cause, and our industry also wanted to make a contribution to the financial support needed by many.”

Meanwhile, Loan Market’s executive chairman Sam White said that the entire Loan Market community is “devastated by the bushfires engulfing our country at the moment”, adding that the loss of life, home, land and wildlife is “almost unfathomable”.

“We realise that many Australians will be affected by these fires, and while the initial loss is heartbreaking, the long-term effects will be a heavy burden.

“We want to help alleviate some of this burden and that's why we are donating $100,000 to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief and will be encouraging our brokers and communities to support where they can," Mr White said.

Likewise, Mortgage Choice CEO Susan Mitchell said: “The devastation of the bushfire crisis is beyond immense and our thoughts are with all those impacted.

“This is such a challenging time for many Australians, so it’s extremely important we rally together as an industry to support and help them rebuild their lives and communities.”

Both the Finance Brokers Association of Australia (FBAA) and the Mortgage & Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) have also supported the cause.

“It gives us great pleasure to be able to leverage the outstanding work Jeremy Fisher and others have already done,” MFAA CEO Mike Felton said.

“Our objective is to enhance the appeal to broaden the scope of prospective contributors, with the aim of maximising the amount of financial support we are able to provide the Australian Red Cross in support of the communities that have been devastated by this dreadful ongoing bushfire crisis. We encourage the industry to get behind the cause.”

FBAA managing director Peter White added that the association believes it is “extremely important” to support the country and — given the “extreme devastation” of people’s lives during this bushfire season (and particularly over the past few weeks) — he urged members of the broking community to donate.

“We all need to chip in and do our part to help our fellow countrymen,” he said.

How to donate

Anyone who wishes to donate to the Mortgage and Finance Industry Bushfire Relief fund can do so via the relevant page on the Red Cross site.

According to the Red Cross, $15 is enough to support a family who has just been evacuated from their home during a bushfire, $20 can help train and support Red Cross volunteers to provide advice and support to those struggling in the aftermath of a disaster, $100 can provide 40 households with emergency REDIplan materials to help them prepare for disaster, while $200 can deliver a preparedness session for 30 people.

A donation of $1,000 can assist the Red Cross in setting up and staffing an emergency information service to help those searching for missing friends or family.