“If it wasn’t for Defence Bank, we wouldn’t be in the position we are. It’s rare to say such positive things about a bank publicly but they made such a difference.
“Put it this way, we couldn’t have bought our place without a DHOAS loan, we wouldn’t have been able to service the loan.
“There are very few things we can leverage as Veterans in Australia and DHOAS is one of them. I’d say to people, take a very, very close look at a DHOAS loan.”
Bernard speaks warmly with wife Liz from the comforts of their family home in a quiet coastal suburb south-west of Adelaide.
They’ve enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy a slower pace since moving in four months ago.
The relaxed coastal setting seems a lifetime away from active service in Timor-Leste, Iraq and Afghanistan mixed with stints from Canberra, Wagga, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide and a diplomatic posting in Washington DC.
“In my line of work, it was very difficult to buy a house because by the time you’ve bought and settled you are up and moving again. We averaged a move every two years,” Berni said.
The single level four bedroom house is adjacent to a conservation park and the beach is a major drawcard just 400 metres away for Berni and Liz and their three children to enjoy.
Bernie’s career began as a soldier but these days he has transitioned to a role in Defence Industry. Liz works in administration which she notes allowed her to find work wherever she was in the world.
A tipping point came during COVID and led to a return to Australia.
“We had ten months of home schooling and living in America during COVID was very different to living in Australia,” Liz said.
“I said to the kids where would you like to live and they chose Adelaide, which was the last place we’d been before going to the states. I wanted somewhere near a beach. This place reminds me of the Northern Beaches of Sydney in the 1990s, where I grew up.”
As soon as thoughts turned to home, the couple started to get organised.
“We weren’t entirely ready to begin with but Defence Bank just said to us it was worth having a look at pre-approval and that gave us the confidence to go for it,” Liz said.
“The process started when we were still in the US. The staff were so supportive and reassuring and just told us that when we were ready, they were here for us. That was exactly the reassurance we needed.
“So for us knowing the people who work in the bank and having that rapport with them is so rare. It’s not very often you hear people talk about their bank that way, but Defence Bank has really nailed that personal piece.
“When we found this place, they could hear the stress in my emails but they told me that everything would be fine which was just what I needed,” Liz said.
Bernie is full of admiration for the opportunities he had while serving but encourages those transitioning out of the defence force to look closely at the options available to lock in a brighter financial future.
“Defence Bank was our choice because of the kind of relationship we have with our bank, such a good rapport and first name basis.
“During our home purchase, there was such wider efficiency from the whole Defence Bank team. We had a two day cooling off period in South Australia and a short 28 day settlement but Defence Bank got us off the line.
Berni has an important message for current or future veterans.
“With interest rates and uncertainty, we never thought we’d be in this position.
“Defence Bank has an attitude that it serves the people that serve the country. That’s always come through in all of my dealings with bank.
“So I can’t stress enough that it is worth taking the time to look at a DHOAS loan. The paperwork and application is no more difficult than any other loan and there’s a hotline you can call with any questions if you do get stuck.
For Liz, she has had to pinch herself and is happy to stay still for a while to come.
“I definitely see us here for a while, while the kids go to school and with the universities close by. We have been all around the world so it is good to slow down and lead more of a 9-5 life. I’m pinching myself and wasn’t thinking we’d make it. We won the lotto I think.”
Important note: This information is of a general nature and is not intended to be relied on by you as advice in any particular matter. You should contact us at Defence Bank to discuss how this information may apply to your circumstances.