Friday 29 March 2013

Letter to Sharon Bowles - marriage devastation

Dear Sharon,

I decided to write to you as if I know you, as a Woman, a Daughter, a Sister, an Aunt,  a Mother and Grandmother – I am all of the above. I also used to be a wife but the financial crisis took its toll on my marriage too.

My name is Claire and I will be 54 on the 30th  March this year. I got married in 1979 and have three grown children, two boys and a girl, aged 34, 32, and 30; I also have three grandchildren, two girls aged seven and eight and a baby boy one month old. My life should be blissfully happy as all these beautiful people are healthy, but in reality my life is like Groundhog Day.

I lived through the recession in the 80’s and nearly lost our first home but it didn’t come to that. Worked hard all my life as did my husband. Sent our children to good schools and to college, moved up the property ladder, gained equity, etc etc.

We had our own business in the 90s. My husband is an electrician, he had 35 men working for him at one stage, we trained 15 apprentices. In 1999 we bought a site and he built the house with direct labour; it was our dream home and it is beautiful.

In 2004 the business got into difficulty but our house was growing in equity all the time – the property bubble. We borrowed on the equity of same to try bolster the business and help one son get a house but in 2005 the company went into liquidation. We had an overdraft for the business and we had signed a personal guarantee; the bank was ringing me four times a week to pay this. My husband did manage to get a PAYE job in October of the same year but we were at our wits' end, so borrowed the €70,000 we owed the bank on the strength of the equity again.

My husband had had a heart attack in 2003 and thank God he survived, but everything that was going on was adding to the strain on our lives; I was the one left taking all the phone calls and doing the finances, which I didn’t mind as I was good at it – as I thought.

The bank gave us the loan but reduced the term of the mortgage to 13 years because of health insurance on my husband, having first agreed an 18-year period. This put the repayments to over €3,000 a month. I knew this was going to destroy us. I told the bank we couldn’t afford it but they said we could; my back was against the wall, I felt I had no choice and we would have to sell our home.

My husband lost the plot and he went downhill from then on. The job became unbearable for him and he left it in June of 2006. He became totally withdrawn, we lived in silence for almost two years. It was awful.

He was entitled to nothing from the state, I was working and trying to pay €500 to the mortgage; as you can imagine the arrears were building up rapidly. Eventually, in 2007, I convinced him to put the house up for sale – we didn’t get one offer, the bubble was bursting.

Long story short, in May 2009 we split up after 33 years and he left the country. I didn’t know how I was going to carry on. Financially, emotionally, every other which way, I didn’t know how to live in the world I was now faced with.

I contemplated suicide on more than one occasion, and as a mother that’s a hard thing to admit as it would have had a huge impact on my children and on my elderly parents. They too are victims of the financial crash as they had been living with me in the big new house; we had built on a granny-flat for them and they had contributed to same and sold their own home.

I didn’t go through with the thoughts of ending it all but I didn’t know how to move on. I rented out the house for a while and tried to pay as much as I could. I started learning about the creation of money and loans and fractional reserve banking; I started learning about the law and the legal system; I stopped paying completely in 2010 as no matter what I was giving it was never going to be enough.

I realised also, the bank was going to try repossess my home; it was purely an asset-grab, they needed to balance their books, at my expense. I decided this was not going to happen.

For four years I have been studying and researching. I am now a lay-litigant and in the court system as a defendant for my home  and I am doing well; I am asking questions that the bank don’t want to answer, I am asking for the deponents to be brought for cross-examination which they do not want to do either.

The banks are all insolvent and have been for quite some time now.  They broke all their own liquidity laws and are guilty of reckless trading. I know they securitised all the loans and made huge profits on same, I know they then acted as agents to collect the payments and got a fee for this. I know that the IFSC in Dublin was the Wild West of banking, I know the Dept. of Finance was warned of the property bubble in 2004 and ignored same on two different occasions. I have been lucky to have been introduced to amazing people who are helping me with the court case; this has become almost a crusade and I am not giving up.

So as you can see, Groundhog day was not a joke as every day is the same, up against a wall of silence and threats, all because of MONEY. Something is radically wrong with this world and I intend to change it as I am not willing to let another generation be destroyed by BANKERS who are only interested in profit.

I actually have palpations in my heart now Sharon so I will stop; thank you for reading this.

Yours sincerely.