It is the steadfast policy of this news service to never look a gift-horse in the mouth. So it is that we are taking the opportunity to run this “never too old” story again. It is the story of Westpac selling a 30-year mortgage to a 98 year old nursing home resident and, unlike people, some stories don’t age.
A word of comfort for mature readers. If you are an upper-middle-aged Australian and concerned that a bank manager from Westpac might stride past your nursing station at any moment toting a pen and a loan application form, fear not!
He could be from ANZ.
When asked once during a legal dispute as to its practice of signing up an octogenarian, ANZ said it did “not discriminate against our customers on the basis of age”. In any case, octogenarians are ankle-biters by Westpac standards, possibly even young enough to have a parent alive to go guarantor on a loan.
The point of so gratuitously running “never too old” again is that David St Pierre, the Westpac bank manager in question, was sentenced to three years in prison for his part in a fraud involving the 98-year old and others.
It took seven years. Banks are loath to condemn their own and St Pierre was only convicted this year after leaving Westpac to work elsewhere, reportedly in mortgage broking. It was last week however, when developments took a dramatic twist.
Property developer and strip club owner, Bradley Keith Silver, was charged by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission with seven counts of fraud which involved engaging elderly victims in a low-doc loan scheme.
Despite promise of riches – dazzling returns of 12 per cent to 20 per cent a year – there was no growth in Capital Growth, nor any capital left either. Capital Growth capsized into liquidation in 2011.