ELDERLY couple Allen Cocks and his wife Merle are among the region’s most vulnerable people to have been dealt a blow by the $660 million collapse of the Banksia finance company.
Mr Cocks, 83, and Mrs Cocks, 85, diligently saved a small portion of their pension over the past 16 years to accumulate $51,000.
The money was going to help meet the cost of their imminent move into supported accommodation.
Mr Cocks, who has limited use of his legs, said the uncertainty surrounding Banksia had thrown his world into turmoil.
Mr Cocks and his wife live independently at Gillin Park retirement home.
As they get older, they had expected to put the $51,000 to good use to pay for more expensive supported accommodation.
That move is now going to be much more of a “financial struggle’’ for the pair.
Mr Cocks told The Standard he knew of many other vulnerable people in the community facing uncertainty over Banksia.
McGrathNicol, the receivers handling the Banksia collapse, expect investors to get a “meaningful return”, although details are still being worked out.
The elderly couple had invested the money in Banksia six years ago and are among the numerous local people whose financial welfare has been put in jeopardy following the finance group’s sudden downfall.
South Warrnambool Football Netball Club is among several regional community organisations to lose money with Banksia.
Club president Gary Walsh said the club had invested “a reasonably substantial amount” with Banksia and was confident that it would get some of the money back.
Mr Walsh said the club was still financially viable despite the loss.
He said the club had invested with Banksia because it had known the company’s financial background over many years.
Warrnambool Eisteddfod president Joy Irvine said it had “under $20,000” invested in Banksia.
“It is a blow, but not a killer blow,” Ms Irvine said of the organisation’s setback.
The eisteddfod would be able to continue with all its activities despite the loss, she said.
“It’s not a total disaster, like with other people’s stories that I am hearing around town that are very sad,” Ms Irvine said.
Deakin University student Grace Mitchell, 19, of Warrnambool, said she would struggle to pay for her study books and accommodation costs during placements because of Banksia’s demise.
Ms Mitchell said her grandparents had invested money 19 years ago in First Legal Services, which had been operated by Maddens Lawyers, and rolled that investment over into Banksia when First Legal Services joined with a number of firms to form Banksia.
She said she had used the interest from the investment to meet the costs of her university education.
Ms Mitchell, who has finished her first year of studying nursing/midwifery, said Banksia breached the trust she had in the company.