Fran’s Sewing Solutions’ Fran Cooper with husband Bob Cooper is distraught after being knocked back on a small personal loan.
Fran’s Sewing Solutions’ Fran Cooper with husband Bob Cooper is distraught after being knocked back on a small personal loan. Scottie Simmonds

Questions over loan refusal

FRAN Cooper runs a successful small business, is free of debt and is in good health, so the 67-year-old is at a loss to explain why her bank will not approve a loan for $5000.

Mrs Cooper believes Heritage Building Society has refused to approve the small personal loan because of her age and the fact she is on a pension.

"They don't say it, but it is an implication," Mrs Cooper said.

"I am fit as a fiddle and I can run circles around some other people.

"I wouldn't be borrowing $5000 if I couldn't pay it back."

Mrs Cooper was forced to close her successful business, Fran's Sewing Solutions in the City Centre Arcade, and live off the age pension for eight months a few years ago while she recuperated after some health problems.

When she was well again, she built the business back up.

"I plan to keep my business until my fingers won't work," she said.

Mrs Cooper applied for the loan when her car blew up and she needed to buy a small second-hand car.

But the loan application and subsequent application for a credit card were both declined.

Her husband, Bob, then applied to increase the limit on his $3000 credit card, which was also rejected.

"It is such a lousy amount of money," Mrs Cooper said.

"There must be a lot of people in this age group in the same situation."

Mrs Cooper was forced to apply for a loan with the car yard's finance company for $3700, but will be slugged with a 19% interest rate.

She also believed the fact income protection insurance cut out at age 57 was another sign older people were being disadvantaged.

Heritage Building Society CEO John Minz said the bank could not comment on specific details for privacy reasons, but that the member's age was definitely not a factor in the decision.

"We lend prudently and responsibly, not approving loans with repayments that could put members into financial difficulties," Mr Minz said.

"The arrears rate on our loans is less than a quarter the industry average, so only a very tiny number of our members ever have trouble repaying their loans."

Mr Minz said the bank had not received a complaint from Mrs Cooper and he would be happy to review the application if she contacts Heritage.

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