Why you're never too old for the banks

Date June 1, 2013                         

Michael West  Sydney Morning Herald

Business columnist

Heather Simmers turned 102 years of age this week. When she was 98, Westpac signed her up for a 30-year mortgage. Lending that personal touch, the bank manager even made the sojourn to the Clem Jones Nursing Home in Bulimba to sign up Heather for the ''Rocket'' investment loan.

It may seem an act of supreme optimism by Westpac to be providing a $440,000 loan facility to a customer who would soon receive her letter from Her Majesty. Yet it is not beyond the realms of possibility that Ms Simmers may have met her obligations.

The greatest authenticated age to which any human has ever lived is French woman Jeanne Louise Calment, who was born on February 21, 1875, and died at a nursing home in Arles in the south of France on August 4, 1997.

Had Jean Louise signed up for Westpac's Rocket package at the age of 98, she could plausibly have met her obligations by the time she passed at the age of 122 years and 164 days - assuming she made early repayments. It is an attractive option of the Rocket facility that extra repayments can be made at any time without charge."..............

" On Monday, we will reveal the results of an investigation into low doc lending in Australia, along with emails between banks and brokers - and claims of widespread forging of loan documents.

The banks and regulators have their stories ready. They question the credibility of those making the claims and blame any irregularities on ''rogue'' mortgage brokers. The victims say the banks are the puppet-masters in a widespread systemic rort and the brokers are merely their agents."



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