A scene of the aftermath of the fire.
COLE BAY–A woman who has a mortgage at Scotiabank says the bank is dragging its feet on turning over a cheque from her insurance company to cover the cost of a fire that damaged her home in Cole Bay more than a month ago.
In an invited comment on the matter Scotiabank Country Manager Douglas Cochrane said the bank cannot comment on customers’ cases as it is not its policy to publicly disclose information related to client accounts. He said, however, that the bank will seek to engage the client on the matter privately and will keep in contact with her to ensure that any issues being experienced are brought to an amicable close.
The homeowner, Odessa Timmerman, said there was a fire at her home on May 30. The following day she contacted her insurance company BSure as well as Scotiabank, as the Benefactor. By June 18, her cheque had been delivered to Scotiabank. “Before the insurance wrote the check, my construction work was completed including electrical rewiring. The insurance asked whether they can write the cheque in my name, since I did the work already. I was told the cheque needed to be in Scotiabank’s name,” she said.
Timmerman said on June 20 she met with two representatives of the bank, who told her that she needed a few documents including the assessors report from the insurance company and an appraiser’s report to ensure that her construction and electrical work were done in the correct manner.
A scene of a part of the home after the fire.
“I told them whatever they needed from me was fine, meaning I know the construction and electrical work done on my home was done in a professional manner and was ready for the inspection. I told them that I urgently needed the funds to put my life back together and where I was staying was not the best nor was it something my kids were accustomed to,” she said. “While the bank and the insurance company fought over the assessor’s report, for two weeks the bank did not contact the appraisal company. They waited to receive one document before proceeding with the other. In the meantime, I am the one waiting to put my life together. I am the one with three kids who urgently needs to return home.”
She said she sent emails to the bank and was just “pushed around more.”
“I don’t think this bank knows what it’s like to be in my situation. It is just unbelievable that in a few days it will be one and a half months since the fire and they have no [sympathy – Ed.] about how I am living while they play around with my money.”
The woman said she has never faltered on her mortgage payment even during this incident. “I am feeling beyond frustrated and angry and not getting anywhere.”
She said several calls to one of the bank’s managers for an appointment to make an official complaint were futile as her calls were never returned. She said she also attempted to speak to Cochrane to no avail. She said she was advised to speak to another person, “who refused to speak to me because I refused to greet him.”
The woman says she had since thrown out all of the burnt out items from her home and is now sleeping on the floor on a mattress waiting on the bank to release the cheque so that she can replace the items. “This is not how a bank is supposed to treat its customers … This is too long a time waiting for a cheque that was already paid out for documents that are beyond my control. They are playing with my livelihood and it is unacceptable,” Timmerman said, noting that she will be moving her mortgage from the bank.