Elaine and Keith Garnett are battling with their bank to keep their home.
Elaine and Keith Garnett are battling with their bank to keep their home.

‘Disgraceful act of greed’: Pensioner pleas for help in bank battle

The ANZ Bank has been accused of greed in its dealings with a Kirwan pensioner who has fallen into financial strife after being loaned $260,000 against his family home.

Meanwhile, the ANZ says the bank is working with the customer but that it doesn't comment on individual circumstances.

Townsville lawyer Evan Sarinas said pursuing Keith Garnett, 66, and his wife Elaine, 63, for whatever little they had was a "disgraceful act of greed".

Mr Garnett said their son had been released from jail and they were trying to "give him a leg up" when they bought a property for him at Majors Creek in 2006.

ANZ financed the $260,000 needed to acquire the property with an interest only loan and no deposit because it was consolidated with a mortgage on the family home in Kirwan.

 

This is a common practice provided the homeowner has sufficient equity.

The Garnetts said they didn't understand at the time that if anything went wrong, they were also putting the family home at risk.

But the arrangement has turned sour and they have fallen behind in payments so the amount outstanding on the loan is now more than $284,000 and growing.

To make matters worse, financiers, including the ANZ, now times have changed, are declining offers from buyers on the Majors Creek property even when a substantial deposit is offered.

The Garnetts say ANZ has told them there is "limited appetite" for property at Majors Creek.

Mr Sarinas said that if ever there was a case deserving of compassion and leniency, this was it.

Mr Garnett, a boilermaker, works as a handyman and is on the aged pension, while Mrs Garnett is on Newstart and volunteers at Meals on Wheels four days a week.

The bank's lawyers have threatened that they would take possession of the Majors Creek property "without further notice".

Asked what she would say to the bank, Mrs Garnett said: "Help us so we can keep our home and get as good a price as we can for the other place."

ANZ said in a statement: "While ANZ doesn't comment on individuals or their specific circumstances, there are still a number of options available that we are working through with these customers.

"ANZ also has an independent Customer Advocate to assist customers when they feel dissatisfied with their situation or they disagree with the outcome of a complaint."

Originally published as 'Disgraceful act of greed': Pensioner pleas for help in bank battle


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