Members' Stories:

Here is a collection of BFCSA members' stories of their experiences with Australian banks, lenders, regulators and financial watchdogs.  If you would like to add yours, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Provident Capital

In August 2007 my husband bought a house at auction against my urgent pleas-it now seems as if he was in the early stages of dementia but our doctor had not told me that this was the case, although I have brain scans to prove it.
We got a bridging loan for 12 months, which included borrowing the interest, and the intent was to sell 2 investment properties to cover most of the loan. The estate agent had convinced my husband that this was a good strategy before the sale without enquiring as to the mortgages on those properties, and my husband, whose memory was already compromised had forgotten we were already a million dollars in debt, which we had been covering with income and rent. With the GFC we could not sell the 2 properties, the bridging finance was running out, so we needed to refinance. Luckily, i insisted on separate banks for the properties, but we were left with the last one to cover-to the tune of over $2 million.
 
We were recommended a broker who could 'get a loan for anyone'. He came up with Provident Capital.
The rate was 17%-so-called 'discounted to 11%.The application fee was almost $50,000 added to the loan amount.
 
We paid it for 2 years by using the equity in our other properties but when we sold them, Provident took the entire proceeds from them, so we had nothing left to pay them. or anyone else with. I also used up half my superannuation to keep up the payments.
They kept the loan rolling over when we could not refinance but then were charging $50,000 every second month to do so, and then demanded $80,000 in May 2011 to stop us being in default. They had been also charging us 17% interest.
I had been seriously ill, and my husband, by now even more showing signs of dementia, had kept information from me, and as well PC did not send statements so I had no idea of what they were doing.
 
Immediately went to ASIC who sent us to FOS.
After 6 months FOS got us an 'agreement' which gave us a return to 11% till we sold the house, no more 'rollover fees' -they were not fees for service, but penalties-and an amount to pay out of over $300,000 more than we borrowed-all composed of the 'fees'.
We were unable to sell the house, but even before we were in default, they started repossession proceedings. They took us to court in July 2012.
Like Dave, we initially had the gung-ho lawyer from a well-known Perth firm, who could see there was something fishy going on, as 'I had done too well without a lawyer' !!!
Even with all a law firm's resources, he could not find what it was however, even though he had the mortgage in front of him. He too started to side with the other lawyers, to my rage.So we dumped him, and took up with another well-known perth lawyer, and when we went to court in July, it was adjourned-and the next day Provident Capital went into receivership.
On our own now, with Denise's help. we asked for, and finally got, our LAF-no income stated, the assets over-inflated, lies about money in the bank, and a house free of mortgage, and we decided to challenge the repossession on the grounds of imprudent lending and maladministration.
 
Then my husband had a stroke.
The court case was put off till February, and we have secured a mediation hearing due in 2 weeks. In the meantime, Provident Capital have been liquidated, with the receivers  virulent as to why they failed-imprudent lending, lack of care for the 50 properties they have repossessed over the last 5 years, maladministration etc.
Today, PC were in court for public examination. We just have to wait and see if we are to be put out on the street-I am 70 and still have to work almost full-time, my husband is 72, and demented-although physically he seems fine-I have cares in for him 3 days a week.
Our assets are entirely mortgaged to the hilt, and selling will give us nothing over. Our retirement, carefully planned so we would not be a charge on the state has been ruined-this time largely because of the lies of an estate agent, and the mental state of my husband.
My children, having seen the results of all of this are staggered that we were given the loan in the first place, and blame the broker, who has made a killing out of our loan by the way, and the lender for their behaviour in hitting us for the fees, which even under the iniquitous contract,[ unknown to us in spite of PC sending us to a lawyer, who explained nothing to us],did not have to be charged. Had they not been we would still be paying them-and would still have assets. Any company that sends its clients broke must have lunatics for principals-and principles they have none of. This is predatory lending, just as occurred in the US-and it is now clear, has been widespread in Australia.
 
Thank goodness for Denise-without her, we would never have found the lies in our LAF-but how much good this may do us in court, we have yet to see.
We have tried to get the papers interested, Four Corners, etc to no avail-I would love to hear from any other PC victims who have been bankrupted like us.
 
 

Westpac  |  ANZ 

NWO: “Whilst the main focus of the debate is the direct financial loss, their are compounding losses as a direct result of the bank and broker fraud.
This was their idea and their strategy - we just fell for it as being professional advice..............we were told its was safe....
 
We were given loans of over 1.5 million on tax returns showing income of  less than 50,000. It did not matter to our broker who was able to make the figures fit using the lender's serviceability calculator and, even then we have uncovered an internal document from one of the Big Four that even with the massaged figures the loan failed credit  score, but our good old Banksters manually over-rode it.   Of course the additional funds have all been lost and in an effort to support the loans our Super Fund has gone as well.
 
BANKSTERS BLED US DRY.  Our young family was torn apart and a little toddler will grow up from a broken home.
 
Add the fact that we are forced sellers of other assets in the Family Law dispute and a potential $150,000 in legal fees the total losses could well be in excess of $2 miillion
 
But what do the Banksters care that is probably only the equivalent of one years annual PERFORMANCE bonus.”

 

Adelaide Bank  |  Westpac

Maria B: “15 Loans approved between 2002- 2009 not one loan checked  by banks as to whether I could repay... (This must be some sort of BAD record.)
When I asked for copy of LAF..sorry this paperwork goes to the bank for approval and once loan approved you will get a copy of the approval.
 
Income tax proof not required because it's a lo-doc loan according to broker. As long as you have an ABN they will lend you the money.
Increase investment portfolio for retirement...7 houses later and umteen buffer loans (Equity is your money use it... directed by
the person I trusted to help me and made me feel an idiot for even asking.)
 
I was dealing with a trusted professional who was accredited by an Association she was a member of. (Load of kaa kaa they must let anyone be a member))
Then... ..Banks stopped lending due to the GFC..they didn't care they had my title deeds and knew I had a few other  assets.
Had to sell assets even had to take out my Super..(assured by broker were absolutely safe and secure) to pay back loans. 
 
I am 60 now with nothing left for my retirement all assets gone..stolen by the banks.
But I am determined to get it back and with a bit of luck the Banksters will be jailed for years for the fraud they have committed against innocent trusting people whose only crime was to try and better themselves for their future, and to try and help their children so they don't have to struggle the way they did.
 
IT WAS THE BANKSTER STRATEGIES taught to the Broker that I followed thinking this is what you needed to do to eb responsible for your own retirement........................little did I know it was a PLOT TO STEAL MY TITLE DEEDS.”

 

Colonial Margin Lending (CBA)  |  Westpac  |  Bank Of QLD

Jan: "My Husband and I have worked together for a lifetime, saving so as not to be a burden on the tax payer.
We were told the reason people face life on the pension is they do not make a plan. Unfortunately the plan we were advised to follow involve margin lending and a mortgage on our home .We were assured this was a safe method of investing that there cash dams to safe guard against any sudden down turn in the market.
 
Over the 9years we were in this plan we accrued a margin loan of $1,200.000 but never set foot in a bank .Then in July 2008 we were advised to increase the mortgage.
 
By this time we had not worked for 2years,we were self funded retirees. Our loan was increased with out going to or speaking with anyone from the bank. We lost our home and all of our life savings through the big banks and their lending practices.
The banks involved:  Storm Financial, Colonial Margin Lending owned by the CBA, Westpac and Bank of QLD"

 

ING Direct  |  Mortgage Broker Alliance  |  Allied Financial Planning

Margaret: “I was “Goaded” into taking out a loan on my house which I owned outright, despite my protests that I was on a part-time income.  The funds bought shares which then fell in the big share crash in 2008.
 
I then had a very large mortgage on my home despite the fact that the share “scheme” was sold as absolutely conservative and “safe”.    My home is now in legal proceedings despite the fact that I haven’t been issued a final default notice.  As I have submitted a complaint to FOS, the bank has told me they will not send me the notice I seek.   Therefore my application to ERSB for early release of minimal amount of Super funds to cover house arrears has been declined.  
 
I have no support, minimal income right now, and all resources have been used in this whole process.”

 
Ali: “Our horror story!
 
The day we suspected that something was very wrong was the start of our 5 year nightmare.
 
With the help of our broker we applied for an investment loan which settled in June 2007. The reason for this investment was to hopefully ensure a more comfortable retirement as we didn't have any super and hubby is a cancer surviver. We were and still are on a small Centrelink income.
 
We were 58 and 65 yrs old when our asset loan for almost $900,000 was approved and furthermore we did not want or ask for such a big loan.
 
About 12 months into making loan repayments (with bank's buffer money) we noticed that the funds were running extremely low and were worried to say the least. After voicing our concern to the broker and talking to other investors also with the same broker, it rang clear to us that we had become entangled with something of a sinister nature.
 
Something big was happening here, so big in fact that we later realised that Lawyers were reluctant to become involved and in any case we did not have the means to pay for any legal work.
 
So here we were completely lost and helpless not knowing where to turn for help when miraculously would you believe that just around this time Denise came into our lives.
 
We were immediately instructed to demand a copy of our Loan application form (LAF) from our bank which arrived after numerous requests, and to our horror our small income was inflated 10 fold and false employment details along with other discrepancies were entered after our signatures had been obtained and furthermore white out can be seen on our document where the tampering had taken place.This was done in order to get the loan approved and was a well planned plot leading to entrapment with the intention to steal our home.
 
We can now name one of the 2 bank officers responsible for the tampering of our documents.
 
Denise alerted our bank on our behalf with these findings and asked for a moratorium to be placed on our loan repayments as fraud was now suspected.
Thankfully the bank had stopped the repayments at our request (moratorium)
 
But soon after in March 2009 we found ourselves in the grips of fear as the threatening letters started arriving from the bank and was soon confronted by a bailiff at our front door. Hubby's quick thinking determined what was to happen next as he politely said "just one moment" and closed the door to come in to alert me. We left the bailiff knocking until he finally left.
 
Trembling with fear as we waited for this awful moment to pass, we were left in a terrible state of fright and our thinking was "what law have we broken?
Of course we hadn't broken any law, it was the bank who had broken the law by illegally altering the details on our loan documents and trapping us into a no win situation.
 
The next day i phoned the bank in anger and demanded to know why a bailiff was sent out when there had been a moratorium put in place. They could not answer this.
 
I was no sooner off the phone when the media rang (organised by Denise) to ask if we would do a television interview right away and we agreed.
Before the interview the media phoned and spoke to the Chairman of our bank who said that they had no intention of taking our home. yeah right!!
After the interview we had a call from the banks Lawyers asking questions to which i replied that if they had bothered to read my recent communication to them, they would have been fully informed of the circumstances. She agreed that she would read up on my letters to them and within a few days we recieved a notice to say that the bank agreed to hold action until further notice. (we did 3 more interviews down the track)
 
FOS closed our file in March 2012 without even examining the illegalities within the claim because it exceeded their jurisdictional limit.
Prior to obtaining this loan we had a $134,000 mortgage and just over $1m in equity. Now with acrued interest we owe the bank over $1m and don't have anymore equity. This is devastating to say the least after all our years of hard work we had done well for our future and now the bank has taken it all.
 Nobody has ever made a phone call to us to check that the information on the documents was true and correct – had this occurred the fraud would have been discovered and the approval of the loan would not have proceeded.
 
The lender had the power to stop the fraud instantly and yet allowed the loan to proceed.
 
We have not made a payment for 4 years and are living in limbo but still miraculously in our home thanks to Denise and BFCSA.
 
We believe the bank's crime was that they did not adhere to their banking policy guidelines and that they tampered with the details on our LAF. They had an obligation to not loan us this amount of money if we could not afford it. How is it possible to approve a $900,000 loan to people of our advanced age earning $23,000 per year combined for a 30 year term?
 
It has been legally proven that the banks used the brokers as their agent. The brokers were set up by the banks to avoid all liability and to entice people to apply for loans they could not afford.
 
We were let down by the very people we should have been able to trust - we had a right to trust the banking sector and Asic should have been able to protect  us from this horrendous crime but they didn't "SHAME ON YOU ASIC AND MORE SHAME" 
To know we have no protection is a terrible disgrace to our nation.”

 

 

Firstmac Limited

Supadave: “The banksters idea was to load me up with debt. Good advice? In 2006 I was encouraged by a broker to take refinance a loan thru Firstmac Limited. I was also encouraged to take a extra $25k for renovations. my 3 page LAF stated I was earning $75k a year when I only earned $35k, they tripled my assets from $50k to $150k as a result I was unable to make the high payments for a period of 2 years, I engaged a solicitor from Perth who represented me in court, he was oh so eager at first with my case stating we would have a good chance? outside the court room on the day he fell to pieces and sold me down the river!  So much for this high profile law firm!
 
I had no choice but to except default judgement and they gave me 8 weeks to do a rush sale of my house. While there was a unconditional contract in place, Firstmac decided to hit me for all these extra fees?? I ended up with $1,400 in my pocket!! Since then they have continually ignored my emails and letters asking why they took extra money? It is in the hands of FOS now.”

 
Robyn: “Aged Pensioners. We were 64 and 74 years old, on the age pension, when the bank granted us a $524,000 - 30 year mortgage.  We had asked for $360,000 but were encouraged by the Banksters to take the extra funds.
 
On the only page we ever saw (until recently) of our LAF we stated our assets as $395,000 -  3 pages over and the bank says our assets total $901,263.58 !!
 
We said our income was $50,000 - we believe the bank changed this to $150,000
On the LAF I am listed as a Solicitor - I am not. My husband and I are both listed as stockbrokers - we are NOT, and never said we were.
The strategy was put to us.  We did not dream up this one.”