Even now, almost a decade after Angela Arena lost her home due to what she claims was misconduct at National Australia Bank, she finds it difficult to talk about what happened.
Gripping her long walking stick tightly, she waited nervously in a queue that snaked along Williams Street in Melbourne to listen to the first witnesses in the banking royal commission give evidence. Not coincidentally they were from NAB.
Ms Arena said she was there because she lost her home in North Queensland after her bank gave her what she claims was an unnecessary and inappropriate overdraft of $300,000 in 2007.
Back then, the 65-year-old had paid her home in full but decided to sell her boarding home business.
With no income, Ms Arena claims her banking manager told her to simply to “live off the overdraft”, which she recalls had an interest rate of 18 per cent.
“They put this overdraft on my home, and I didn’t really understand what was going on ... they just said sign this and sign that.”
Before long, Ms Arena had chewed into the money - she is unsure of how much she spent. “I wasn’t well ... it got out of hand.”
“I didn’t need an overdraft,” she said. “I had my home, I just needed to get on somehow.”
It is believed she later settled with the bank but is clearly still not satisfied with the result which saw her lose her home.
Today, Ms Arena rents a private room in Melbourne. She decided to attend the banking commission hearing because “it’s still so important to me".
“I’ve owned my own home since I was 17. Now I have nowhere to go.”
A spokeswoman for NAB said the bank could not comment due to customer privacy reasons but said it was committed to working with customer experiencing financial difficulties.This article was first published by https://www.smh.com.au/
Author: Daniella Miletic