What to expect in conciliation - Mortgage stress

Mortgage stress logoOnce you have lodged a dispute with the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) you may be asked to complete a Statement of Financial Position and then attend a telephone conciliation conference with your lender.

A conciliation conference is a conversation between you, your lender and an independent person from AFCA. The person from AFCA will talk to both you and the lender, in order to understand the issues around the dispute.

The conciliation conference is also an opportunity for you and the lender to negotiate a repayment arrangement.

Do I have to participate in the telephone conciliation conference?

You must participate in the telephone conciliation conference.

You should schedule the conference at a time when you will be able to participate. If something happens and you will not be available for the telephone conciliation conference, you should ring AFCA as soon as possible and reschedule the conference. 

How can I prepare for a conciliation conference?

You should get advice before the conciliation conference, to discuss what a realistic outcome from the settlement could be. You may need legal advice, or financial advice, or both.

When you are in the conciliation conference, try to remain calm and not to take anything personally. Focus on getting an arrangement that suits you. Conciliation is an opportunity to negotiate with the lender, but you do not have to come to an agreement at the conference. If you do not agree, AFCA still has the power to determine your financial hardship dispute. 

If the lender proposes an new arrangement, you need to make sure the settlement will be a workable arrangement for you. You should not agree to an arrangement if it:

  • is not affordable
  • requires the payment of a lump sum that you are not sure you can afford
  • does not run for long enough, or the lender won’t agree to review it after an initial period if needed
  • requires you to agree or consent to a court judgment
  • does not cover what will happen at the end of a period of making lower or no repayments, or
  • is just generally unsuitable for your situation. 

This checklist is a guide to things a hardship dispute settlement should include.

WARNING!

Do not agree to the lender getting judgment without getting legal advice.

 

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Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.