31.01.2019 at 01:01
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"Vulture" Bankwest Sells Pregnant Widow's Home

A grieving pregnant widow was left homeless when Bankwest repossessed her home before the life insurance settled.

When Stephanie Stevens' husband died without a will, she struggled to save her home only to be left homeless when the bank repossessed and sold it.

She was 3 months pregnant with their first child Olly when her husband Ryan lost his life in a quad bike accident in Western Australia.


Mr Stevens did not have a will. But Mrs Stevens wanted to remain in the home.

"I wanted to keep the home we lived in, that we renovated, that we had so many memories in for me and Olly, something for me to hold on to throughout the darkness.

"We were married but that didn’t matter. There was no will."

She had to wait for the life insurance and superannuation to get all sorted out and be declared the beneficiary.

During that time — it took 5 months — the mortgage went unpaid.

And Mr Stevens' life insurance was $30,000 short of covering the mortgage.

In the meantime, said Mrs Stevens, "They let interest accrue, they let legal fees go onto it, administration fees, and then they wouldn't let me buy the property."

Mrs Stevens' parents offered to be guarantors of the mortgage, and cover the $30,000 difference. But Bankwest rejected the offer.

Instead it repossessed the home, and auctioned it off for $420,000... $100,000 less than the couple had paid for it in 2013.

Although the bank sold the home for $70,000 less than the loan amount, it would make that up via insurance.

But according to Mrs Stevens, the bank did not have to do that.

"If they just accepted what I was offering, we could have a home.

"Basically, they were vultures."

Bankwest's statement on the matter was somewhat less than inspiring.

"We acknowledge that the level of support Mrs Stevens experienced from Bankwest fell short of her expectations during a very distressing period of her life, and we apologise for this.

"We are lifting our standards of customer care, especially for customers with complex or sensitive needs, to ensure they receive better and more personalised support, now and in the future."

Too late for Mrs Stevens, however.

(Note: different sources give different amounts for the sale price. Some have said $450,000, others $420,000.)

We received a few reader responses to our article on Charle's Tarbey's comments about Purplebricks.

Paul Freney of @realty wrote, "Well said Charles Tarbey."

Daniel Veronese of Lewis Realty in Sydney wrote: "Will be interesting to see if the REIV ( which basically all Agencies in Victoria pay a fee to be members of) will speak out against Purple Bricks, given they are contravening the REIV’s ‘Professional Code of Conduct’ (points 13 (2) and 21 )."

Another reader pointed out that at the bottom of the article, he saw an ad for "MinusTheAgent". Oops. Good point. But we don't choose the ads, Google does.


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