Thursday, 17 November 2011

Lemmings and lethargy

George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the assumption that it takes place” and I have to admit that the last few days have proved successful communication is most definitely the exception rather than the rule.

This week I have endeavoured to,

·        Acquire M&S vouchers I have been allocated as part of a marketing promotion only to be told I have already received them

·        Repair my car via my insurance following a “no fault accident” after two months of waiting only to be repeatedly told I have still have to pay the excess

·        Secure a bursary figure from my daughter’s prospective senior school only to be told, for reasons they were not at liberty to disclose, they are unable to provide one at present  

·        Persuade my sixteen year old son to secure me an appointment with his Maths “re-sit” teacher on parents evening to be told by him that re-sit students do not have tuition or teachers

·        Explain to the Financial Ombudsman’s adjudicator that they must have received my reply concerning my HBOS complaint because they have not only acknowledged its receipt by letter but have also signed for it on its delivery by registered post

Knowing full well that, “If you hold a cat by the tail you learn things you cannot learn any other way”, I have since discovered;  

·        M & S voucher distributors would prefer to accuse me of theft than admit they have not done their job

·        Motor insurance claim departments have absolutely no sense of urgency and must now join the ranks of my ever increasing list of letters of complaint

·        Acquiring background information as to how, why and to whom bursaries for education are awarded from a neighbouring and competing independent school, has encouraged my daughter’s prospective school to revisit their decision to with hold the original level of bursary they were prepared to make available for my daughter's education

·        Emailing my son’s sixth form tutor not only reveals a completely different interpretation of the academic commitment required to improve an AS Maths grade at re-sit from that of my son's but it has also highlighted a distinct lack of pro-activeness on his part

·        Putting the FSO’s administrative shortcomings in writing, quoting times and dates of supporting documentary evidence has had my adjudicator hopping around in snooty embarrassment while suggesting my case in referred to her superior rather than make any further fobs off's herself

Napoleon Bonaparte said, “Never ascribe malice to that which can be better described as incompetence” and as I strive daily for a conscious competence that will carry me through my battle with HBOS, combat the disinterest of the Financial Ombudsman Service and help me make the most of our reduced financial circumstances for the sake of my family, I cannot help lament the lack of mindful leadership that has left me dealing with more than my fair share of lemmings this week. While I accept that experience has always proved to be a brutal but effective teacher, I can only hope by learning from yesterday and yet continuing to live for today I will eventually achieve results that will provide hope for our future.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Sick and Tired

I recently read that representing an investment banker is not unlike being a street-sweeper at a parade. Not only does it involve watching an endless procession of horse’s arses but one is also responsible for clearing up the mess they make.  Now that Lloyds Banking Group’s Antonio Horta Osorio has recently stepped back from his role of Chief Executive Officer only eight months after his golden hello of £8.3 million; I cannot help but wonder whether the stress of spending his days clearing up the legacy of his predecessor’s mountainous piles of crap have resulted in his health’s undoing.

In spite of one person's suggestion it is the numerous letters of complaint I have sent for his personal attention that have finally pushed Mr Osorio over the edge, my gut feeling is this tennis playing, green tea drinking lawyer’s son has gone medically a-wall for reasons, whatever they may be, which have very little to do with my persecution at the hands of HBOS.  I do not doubt, however, it will be a great comfort for him to know, unlike the many individuals who have been suffering relentless levels of stress at the hands of Lloyds owned HBOS, he has another £15 million coming his way out of the 41% taxpayer owned banking coffers whether he does another days work at Lloyds or not.

Hermocratis once said, “An abundance of gold and silver, makes war, like other things, go smoothly” and I can only hope, in this case, “other things” don’t just apply to Mr Horta Osorio’s personal finances whilst on sick leave.  Without him at the helm, market confidence has already cost Lloyds share holders a £1 billion in fallen share values while a 21% drop in profits for the last quarter takes Lloyds Banking Group’s trading losses for the last nine months down to an unhealthy £3.9 billion.

So, while I wait, penniless and in moderate health to hear how my fourteen page letter of complaint to the Ombudsman’s service is received, it seems that Lloyds Banking Group also wait penniless and in moderate health for a favourable outcome to Horta Osorio’s untimely exodus.  In my case, however, having lost everything three years ago because of HBOS recklessness, I only have the potential for gain whilst it appears on this occasion it is the “ too big to fail” Lloyds Banking Group who have everything to lose.

Now there’s a thought.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Rot and Romans

Roman senator and historian Cornelius Tacitus once said, "A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of a few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all" and while I continue to smart from the lack of impartiality, unbridled prejudice and misplaced assumptions of the Financial Ombudsman’s Service towards my HBOS complaint, I cannot help but wonder how much more acquiescence I, along with the “ Occupy” protesters worldwide, am expected to endure at the hands of financial regulatory impotence.

Hearing that St Paul’s Cathedral’s backers are dominated by banking interests worth more than £450 billion, 60% of its financial supporters are linked to finance and a large proportion of the trustees have a direct interest in investment banking, it is little wonder the church, like the politicians whose campaign funding relies on the favours of the corporate elite, are dithering as to which side of the fence they wish to sit on in this high profile battle for an ethical economy. It is also unsurprising to find the Corporation of the City of London’s weapon of choice for the dissolution of the Occupy St Paul’s protesters is health and safety. It is however, nothing short of infuriating to witness the ease with which a mere handful of people are able to put the wheels in motion to guard against a perceived danger via health and safety legislation when it is compared with the softly softly approach that has so far been adopted by regulators and governments alike in the face of an actual, and ongoing, global financial crisis. It is nothing short of ludicrous in the light of widespread public outcry for an urgent solution to halt the banking and corporate elites continued looting of the worlds economy.

After reading both HBOS whistle blower Paul Moore’s article, along with that of former banker John Fullerton, both of which vehemently support the need for a return to an economy where “finance is its servant and not its master”, it is clear that a winter of discontent is not only on the cards for the Occupy movement but it is also on the lips and in the hearts of a collective that is not on the steps of St Paul’s and neither is it outside the New York stock exchange. This cry “for the greed and self interest of the minority to be put aside in favour of an economy that promotes a more equitably shared prosperity and respects the physical limits of our planet” seems to be on the lips of an ever increasing number of individuals.

I, for one, sincerely hope my reply to the Financial Ombudsman’s adjudicator in which I request she adhere to FSO's words of intent as stated in their own mission statement will play its part in facilitating a regulatory change. Regulatory change that not only prevents the sweeping of the 99%’s interests under the carpet in favour of keeping the rich and powerful sweet but instead takes those responsible to task and passes judgement on them in a real and consequential manner.

Tacitus also said, “The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws”. So I wish to declare that I, housewife and mother of five, grandmother of six, Chairman of the Friends of my children's school and debt fighter extraordinaire, with the help of my trusty friend and confidant Chris (mother of one) plan to make sure these numerous laws are used to serve and protect me from the corrupt. For this reason my fourteen page letter to the Financial Ombudsman’s Service took Chris and I three whole days to write. I can't imagine the FOS are going to have much fun reading it but I live in hope that, at the very least, it starts the meaningful dialogue for which I have waited so long.