Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Great Expectations


When American novelist Nicholas Sparks said, “I’ve often over-estimated what I could accomplish in a day [but] under-estimated what I could accomplish in a year” he portrayed my own expectations in the role of a one woman debt fighting machine precisely and it did not occur to I would still engaged in a battle for the facts behind my families financial demise four whole years later.

Despite a background in financial services and one hundred and thirty six years of industry experience amongst my immediate relatives, I was unable to comprehend the logic of the way HBOS chose to deal with the suffering and hardship of my family during the banking crisis of 2008. This only made me all the more determined to embark on a quest for as much information about HBOS as I could possibly lay my hands on.
At first I believed I was alone in my distress; my research soon revealed nothing could have been further from the truth. While I had been consumed by the shock of our financial demise and the effect it was having on my children, the media had been awash with the devastation bankster's criminal avarice had reaped on the global economy. Initially hoping government promised rescue packages, interest rate cuts and lenders forbearance combined with a substantial offer of rental income to service our mortgage would begin to ease our difficulties, it soon became clear HBOS had no intention of behaving with compassion or forbearance and were instead intent on recapitalising their coffers with the forced sale and repossession of many people’s residences including our own.
Once my home was no longer mine, I was convinced HBOS would, like 80% of the other banks my husband owed, write off the £217,000 shortfall created by their fire sale when I and the CAB reminded them of our dire financial circumstances. Sadly, instead relentless pursuit at the hands of their debt collectors was the route HBOS chose so, with nothing further to lose and much to the delight of the CAB, my solicitor, several good friends and some very sympathetic bankers, I decided to go public by posting my story on the Internet.

A complete newcomer to blogging little more than a year ago and now the proud recipient of 10,000 page views, I originally embarked on my social media journey to expose HBOS’ brutish behaviour. However, during my subsequent voyage of economic discovery, I realised my suffering as a result of HBOS avarice was far from an isolated incident. Endemic of a light tough regulatory banking system which rewards greed, criminality and failure with untold wealth, the list of those on the receiving end of the bankster’s big stick was all but never ending.

Disillusioned with the reluctance of the FSA, FOS and the government to get to grips with widespread banking fraud I have, over the last year, documented every irrational and often sexist remark I have encountered from Lloyds, HBOS and their regulators during my campaign for a financial future. In the process I have learned the following.



And we must all,


Now, almost eighteen months since I first started writing about banking skulduggery, I am nothing short of delighted to hear the New Wilberforce Alliance has been launched to instigate change. Brain child of whistle blower Paul Moore, former head of HBOS risk management, this organisation promises to campaign for radical reform in our banking sector and a return to corporate values which embrace ecologically sound motives as well as moral ones. I wish every success to the honourable endeavours of the New Wilberforce Alliance and hope, with the help of its growing number of supporters, the volume is raised on the public’s repeated demands for a brighter and ethical future.
It is said, “When the world whispers, give up, when hope whispers, try one more time” and because I remain hopeful of a better future, not only for my family but for generations to come, Paul Moore has my whole hearted support.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Traitors and Liasons


Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer and political theorist Marcus Tullius Cicero once said, “The traitor moves amongst those within the gates freely. [A  traitor] rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the politic so that it can no longer resist” and, with news that silver and gold prices may well be investigated in tandem with Libor rigging, it is not hard  to imagine that not only has traitorous contamination seeped into every crevice of the global economy but the unconstrained powers and insatiable appetites of the banks have more than undermined the pillars of the city.
Banksters still bask in comforts provided by outrageous profits secured by capitalising (several times over) from bailouts which rescued them from their own misdeeds. Meanwhile I, along with rest of their victims, are condemned to financial purgatory while watered down banking reforms and limp government initiatives provide nothing to aid to our recovery. Contrary to the promises of both Gordon Brown and David Cameron, help has never been at hand and bailouts did not secure our homes with mortgage forbearance or loan modification. Bank bailouts have only preserved the rot and allowed the corrupt to steal the hearts, the souls and the prosperity of many nations.

Endowed with the ability to create credit without regulatory restraint, the past year alone has revealed bankers regularly chose to abuse their privileged positions by mis-selling unsuitable life products, unserviceable mortgages and immoral interest rate swaps, to name but a few. Regulatory fines, although larger than ever levied before, are only a fraction of the returns harvested by these criminal acts while directives deterring prosecutions of banking fraud, even for aiding the drug trade, have only further incentivise the criminally astute to consider profit hungry risks like HSBC’s foray into money laundering .

De rigueur for the offenders to claim Libor rigging as victimless has proved to be more traitorous flannel borne out by the mounting numbers of prosecutions being brought by institutions worldwide. In my case Libor manipulation may well have been responsible for a local housing association’s decision to withdraw from purchasing land for a local housing estate on which my husband secured both an option and detailed planning permission at considerable personal expense. Too “remote” to seek recompense through legal channels this economic crime, combined with the short sighted, sexist actions of HBOS and Lloyds, has cost us our home, our livelihood and our financial future. Void of legal or political support, victims are destined to remain the punch bag for banks like HBOS for as long as it amuses them.

US president Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you wish to test a man’s character then give him power” and if the past four years for me are anything to go by it is clear traitorous infiltrations have done a great deal to perpetuate an all powerful banking culture which remains beyond both the law and the influence of government.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Real Life Revisted


American writer EB White once said, “If the world were merely seductive that would be easy. If it were merely challenging that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy it. This makes it hard to plan the day” and, having returned refreshed from a very welcome family holiday to the demanding tasks of the real world, I fully understand White's sentiments.

Torn between getting back to blogging, revisiting my duties of domestic goddess and taking up my role of debt fighter extraordinaire or simply enjoying more time with my family I have,

·        Washed, dried and relocated nothing short of eight loads of washing

·        Unpacked four suitcases and distributed the contents to their rightful owners.

·        Opened and replied to ten pieces of correspondence as well as sent four birthday cards complete with presents.

·        Read, answered, deleted or blocked 340 emails lurking in my inbox.

And,

·        Taken my soon to be eighty six year old mother to the garden centre, assessed a leak in her roof, chosen an outfit for her to wear at a christening and ordered a mirror she has need of from the internet.

In addition I have,

·        Expressed my discontent to our external decorators, who, while we were away, saw fit to remove our tower scaffolding from where it was stored, assemble it at the front of the house and leave it there unattended for two weeks, to provide both aid to potential intruders as well as a tempting acquisition for a passing thief.

·        Told my landlord I did not take kindly to having his finger wagged at me in fury when informing him it was his tradesmen who had seen fit to appropriate equipment belonging to us without permission.

·        Advised my seventeen year old son it is not only unacceptable to allow his friends to take and damage the prized possessions of his eleven year old brother in our absence but it is nothing short of outrageous to believe he can use my Amazon account (and my card details) to fund his purchase of six computer games without asking me.

·        Confiscated my new tenant’s electric fire because he saw fit to leave it on unattended in temperatures of 25 degrees and insisted he remove the tortoise I found roaming, free range in his bedroom, using my cream fitted carpet as its litter tray.

·        Secured a very apologetic response from the Spanish legal administrators for our apartment’s community for the cyber bullying I endured at the hands of their volunteer community president.

And,

·        Ignored yet another letter from Lloyds Banking Group which, after enquiring yet again if I wish all future correspondence to be in Braille, insists I settle the balance forthwith and completely ignores the fact that the account remains the subject of an ongoing Financial Ombudsman’s Complaint.

EB White also says, “One of the most consuming things in life is to have an enemy” and while I am determined not to let family life be consumed by my ongoing battle with the banks, now that domestic, administrative and family obligations are suitably attended to, I am, at last, at liberty to dedicate some time to improving the world.

Lloyds Banking Group, along with the infamous Halifax Bank of Scotland who continue to hide amongst the sumptuous skirt's of LLoyds executive elite, remains firmly in my sights!