Alexandra Kelly: Recently a girl came to me.
Her name was Anna. She has a family of six, she has four children.
She is 30 years old. She rang me after the lender that she had
refused a hardship variation on her home mortgage. She was about $8,000 behind. What had happened was she and her
husband had bought a house in 2008 with the First Home Owners Grant so
there wasn’t much equity in the property. She had lost her job and so had her husband in late 2010
and their savings had finished in early 2011. I assisted her by lodging in the Credit Ombudsman
Service which is a free external dispute resolution provider and assisted in negotiating with the lender
a period of time for her to get back on track. If she makes the next three monthly repayments
they are going to capitalise the arrears which means puts it at the end of the loan and she
can continue to make the normal repayments. She hopes to move back into the property in about
three months because she is now back in full time employment and same with her husband. I think the most stressful thing was the
process server ringing them up and asking them, ‘where are you so that we can hand you these court
papers’, and also the stress of trying to negotiate with the lender in circumstances where
English wasn’t her first language. She had a number of young children and so I think that really frightened her that she was about to lose that home. Now that we’ve worked with them they are in an arrangement with the lender so that they’re keeping with up with their normal repayments. The lender has agreed to refund some of the late fees. And also agreed that after three months
if she makes the payments they will discontinue the Supreme Court statement of claim.