Busload of anger as Banksia investor from Orford plans trip to meet with administrators

A SOUTH-WEST investor with the collapsed Banksia financial group is calling on others to join him for a face-to-face meeting with administrators. 

David Egerton, of Orford, is hoping to organise a busload of fellow Banksia investors to travel to a planned meeting between the company’s receivers and debenture holders.

A spokeswoman for the receivers McGrathNicol said yesterday the meeting would be held by early next month, with the exact date and location to be provided to debenture holders shortly.

“Everyone needs to get up there and tell the receivers how they feel,” Mr Egerton said.

Mr Egerton had $87,000 invested in Banksia and said he knew of a few others who had also “lost a lot of money”.

McGrathNicol has indicated it will outline at the meeting a strategy on how it will realise Banksia Securities’ assets to give investors a return.

McGrathNicol also said in an October 26 statement it hoped to make an initial return of capital to debenture holders in eight weeks’ time. Mr Egerton said his investments with Banksia were a $70,000 first mortgage to a dairy farm and the remainder in target savings.

“I invested with Banksia about five or six years ago because I thought a first mortgage in a dairy farm was solid as a rock.”

He said the target savings were to pay for his late wife’s funeral expenses. 

However, Banksia’s shock demise meant he was unable to pay for a memorial stone.

Mr Egerton said Cole’s Coaches in Warrnambool had agreed to take a bus to the meeting if it got sufficient bookings.

People interested in taking part should contact Cole’s Coaches, he said.

In other developments, businesses and Banksia employees will be first to get help from the state government following the financial group’s collapse.

Deputy Premier and Banksia working group chairman Peter Ryan said the government would also provide funding for psychological counselling services to those affected.

Mr Ryan said the government was also working with the federal departments of family, housing, community services and indigenous affairs to help those suffering severe financial hardship get assistance grants and support services.

The present initiatives, provided through existing government programs, include free access to business mentoring for affected businesses. 

The standard $400 fee for a series of four mentoring sessions will be waived.

On-the-ground help will also be available via the government’s Mobile Business Centre, which will visit affected communities in coming weeks, and Banksia employees whose jobs are at risk will get help to find other work through re-skilling or up-skilling under the state government’s Workers In Transition Program.

Investors affected by the Banksia collapse can contact the Rural Finance Corporation on 1800 260 425. 

Businesses are urged to contact the Business Victoria Helpline on 13 22 15. 

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