Saturday 21 October 2017

Mother of two in plea for protection from bullying bank

ALISON O'RIORDAN

A WICKLOW divorcee and mother of two who lost her family home due to bankruptcy has said vulnerable people need more care and protection by the State against the bullying banks.

Raheengraney House was a stunning mansion in Shillelagh in Co Wicklow, 65 miles from Dublin, when purchased in 1999 by Jillian Godsil and her then husband of 16 years to become their dream home.

But when her husband, an English banker, filed for divorce in England in 2006, and then subsequently declared himself bankrupt, Jillian was left with the weight of the huge mortgage of €900,000 even though they both owned the house.

However, since Jillian put the 5,200 square-foot house with three reception areas, eight bathrooms and eight bedrooms up for sale on YouTube a few months ago at a reduced price of €500,000, one buyer in particular was only too happy to snap up the keys of this lavish property.

But Bank of Scotland has since refused to accept the offer of the house for €500,000 less fees and instead wants to pursue Jillian for the full mortgage of €900,000 even though they are well aware of her debts.

"They know I have no money, the solicitor who did my affidavit of means refused to charge me as he could see I had nothing -- only debts.

"The banks are the professionals -- they lent me the money so why am I being penalised when their professional valuation of my property turns out to be a third of what it was. They valued it at €1.6m at one stage and now it is only worth €500,000," she said.

"And then when I get a cash offer -- they decide to refuse it and come after me instead. Did they do this to the other bankers in this Ireland or just the little people, it's so unfair," she sobs.

"Can no one stand up to them and say this is wrong? All I want to see is a fair resolution to this horrible mess," said the woman who has not been able to sleep properly for six months now.

"The past two months have been a nightmare. At the end of the day I offered the bank the value of the house, less fees. This they have declined," she said.

"In business, there are ways of unravelling financial failures. But for homeowners, this avenue does not exist.

"And yet, when you lose the family home it seems to me that more care and protection is needed for the family, not less.

"While I acknowledge that my situation is complicated by the bankruptcy of my eu-hisband in the United Kingdom, I ask what gives the bank the right to come after the only vulnerable person in the chain, the single mum with two kids trying to protect them and keep a roof over their heads," she added.

Sunday Independent

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