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Unaffordable loan top ups

Antonio and his wife Olivia refinanced their home loan in 2006. They were 55 and 48 years old at the time. Antonio and Olivia’s loan was approved for a 30-year term.

Antonio and Olivia topped up their home loan six times over the next nine years. Each of Antonio and Olivia’s top ups was for at least $10,000. Their final top up was in 2016. By 2023, Antonio and Olivia, who were at or close to retirement age, still had to repay over $200,000. 

The financial adviser, who helped Antonio and Olivia with their loan top ups, did not warn Antonio and Olivia about the consequences of topping up their loan, given their ages. Antonio and Olivia were not aware that their loan top ups would create financial difficulty late in life.

Antonio complained to FSCL in January 2023.


Antonio said the financial adviser should have warned him and Olivia about the consequences of topping up their loan. Antonio was unsure whether he and Olivia would ever be able to pay off their loan.

The financial adviser said that they did not consider Antonio and Olivia’s refinancing in 2006 to be irresponsible. However, the financial adviser agreed that they should have treated Antonio and Olivia’s top up applications more carefully. 


We could only consider Antonio and Olivia’s final top up application in 2016. Antonio and Olivia applied for their other top ups before the lenders’ responsible lending obligations were introduced in June 2015. 

It was our view that the financial adviser should have done more to make Antonio and Olivia aware of the consequences of their 2016 top up. Failing to make Antonio and Olivia fully aware of the consequences had caused them stress and disrupted their financial planning. We suggested that the adviser consider paying Antonio and Olivia compensation for inconvenience.


We encouraged the financial adviser to make a fair and reasonable settlement offer. Antonio and Olivia accepted the adviser’s settlement offer of $3,750. The financial adviser also wrote Antonio and Olivia an apology letter, and we then closed our file.

Insights for consumers

Consumers should always consider seeking independent financial advice before they apply for a loan or a loan top-up. It is important to understand the consequences of every loan application.