Australian bushfires: Industry rallies to provide support

Thousands of Australians are putting their hand up to assist the people and communities ravaged by the country’s worst bushfire season on record, helping ensure that the affected areas have the best chance of recovering from what has been an unprecedented natural weather event.

Mortgage brokers, lenders and other industry groups have been showing their support in a number of ways.

Liberty Financial

The lender has donated $250,000 towards supporting the people and communities affected by bushfires.

Liberty chief executive James Boyle said the heart of the Liberty team was heavy with the tragedy and devastating destruction caused by the bushfires.

“We are grateful to all the volunteers and emergency services personnel who are taking great risk to fight fires in order to save lives and homes,” he added. “We know that without their heroic efforts the toll on our communities and our native animals would be much higher.”

Boyle said for Liberty the safety and wellbeing of customers was first and foremost, adding, “We will do whatever we can to help customers who are dealing with the aftermath of the fires.”

Liberty made its donation to Australian Red Cross Disaster Relief and Recovery fund, arming their emergency teams with resources to provide a wide range of disaster support measures.

The Disaster Relief and Recovery fund also covers the cost of volunteer training, equipment and transport as well as the coordination effort to ensure help is where the community needs it most.

ALI Group

The mortgage protection provider has announced it will be donating a share of their January and February 2020 profits in support of those impacted by Australia’s bushfire crisis.

For each Loan and Mortgage Protection Plan policy arranged by an authorised broker, from 1 January to the end of February, ALI will donate $50.

ALI expects to donate over $50,000 with the help of their network of authorised brokers which will be distributed to a range of state’s respective volunteer and emergency fire service organisations.

Huy Truong, ALI Group CEO, has expressed his sincere sympathies for those impacted, particularly their policyholders and brokers alike who reside in the affected regional areas.

“The ALI team and I have been watching the bushfire tragedy unfold over the Christmas and New Year period,” he said.

“The devastation to homes, lives, livestock, flora and fauna is at a scale unprecedented. Our hearts go out to those being directly impacted including many of our authorised brokers and policyholders residing in the affected regional areas. We wish to show our support and financial aid to those who are working around the clock, risking their own lives to battle these fires”.

ALI Group urges anyone looking to show their support to get in touch with their local ALI Group BDM.

Broker Bushfire Appeal

One such group of mortgage professionals whose generosity deserves to not go unnoticed is the Broker Bushfire Appeal, whose industry-wide fundraising efforts via the Red Cross will go a long way in re-building communities that require much-needed financial, practical and emotional aid.

Their call-to-action reads: “To the mortgage brokers of Australia…our country needs us. We are in a state of emergency. When the fires pass, communities need re-building. Now is the time to show our support. Please give what you can, as every dollar counts”.

1st Street Financial managing director Jeremy Fisher is urging brokerages, aggregations groups and industry associations to get involved and pledge their support.

“The mortgage broking industry is one large family, and in times of need, we manage to put our differences aside and fight for the common goal,” he said. “This appeal is no different and proves how powerful and supportive our industry is.”

With such a strong start to fundraising efforts thus far, Fisher now has a much more ambitious financial goal in mind.

“Given the support of the industry bodies Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and Finance Broker Association of Australia (FBAA) as well as major aggregators and franchises, we now hope to exceed $1 million in fundraising,” he said.

“Our industry has been successful solely due to the support of the everyday Aussie choosing to engage a mortgage broker so it is now our turn to give back and do whatever we can to help our fellow Australians.”

Fisher noted that he would like to acknowledge those within the industry who have donated and contributed heavily in getting the appeal off the ground since its commencement on Monday.

“I would like to thank every broker and aggregator/franchise group that have gotten behind this appeal, including the MFAA and FBAA who were very quick to get on board and do whatever was required to help promote the Broker Bushfire Appeal,” he said.

The FBAA’s involvement in the appeal has seen them offer support to brokers directly who have been personally impacted by the bushfires.

FBAA managing director Peter White said the association will rally members to help once they know the needs.

“There may be a broker who needs office accommodation, housing, personal items, mental health support or a helping hand in other areas,” he said.

“So our message to brokers across Australia is to contact the FBAA immediately if you have been affected, or if you know another broker who has been.”

White emphasised that he wants to include all brokers, not just FBAA members.

“Of course we want to help our members, but this is a time to be an industry not an association, and the broking fraternity share a special bond and understanding,” he said.

“This is a shout out to all brokers everywhere.”

For those interested in donating to the the Broker Bushfire Appeal, you can do so via Red Cross at https://fundraise.redcross.org.au/fundraiser/mortgagebrokersaustralia.

Also, if you are a broker who has been impacted by the bushfires or you know a broker who has, email the FBAA at mroberts@fbaa.com.au.

In addition, industry groups and representatives involved with the Broker Bushfire Appeal are encouraged to spread the word via their database, social media and any other marketing platform they see fit.