Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Fruitless Endeavours

Within the Dialogues of Phaedrus, ancient Greek writer Plato once said, “Things are not always as they seem; the first appearance deceives many” and as I look back on yet another year of battling with the banks there appears to have been little to encourage me to believe my best endeavors have achieved anything of note.

Determined to remain informed on all things bankster while simultaneously fighting HBOS and LLoyds has been taxing enough without running a household of lodgers, cooking and cleaning for a family of five, twice weekly visiting two elderly relatives, Chairing the Friends and organizing upwards of half a dozen events at my children’s school.  Nevertheless, increasingly self  critical of both the content and the way in which I write my blog, each post has received unsparing hours of scrutiny before it has been released into the public domain in the vain hope that it will, in some small way, make a difference.

This year alone I have ,

  • Added a further thirty nine pieces to my blog roll only to acquire very few additional members as a result.
  • Signed up to follow 331 people via twitter, sent 1298 tweets only to find a mere handful wish to follow me in return
However despite former indications to the contrary, in some areas, I have also enjoyed some very welcome results.

Much to my delight and amazement I have,
  • Quadrupled the number of page views I regularly receive on my blog posts and now have in excess of 1500 a month
  • Exceeded 80 followers on twitter all of whom have discovered my blog themselves and chosen to follow me
  • Not only received £500 from the FOS's for their miss handling my case, but also received an offer of settlement via the FOS in respect of my LLoyds Banking Group ficticious payment complaint. As well as upholding my claim and awarding me a further £25.00 their investigative reports states they find Lloyds behaviour completely without "empathy or understanding for our circumstances".
In addition,
  • I have also received both a phone call and an email from someone within Lloyds Banking Group who, profusely apologetic, assures me he has not only taken ownership of my HBOS over valuation complaint but, in the light of its miss handling over the last twenty months, plans to both investigate and "deal with my concerns" swiftly.
Plato also says, “Everyone ought to bear patiently the results of his own conduct” and finally, after four long years of waiting without patience, the results of my own conduct appear, if I am not deceived, about to bear fruit.

Here's hoping it is not another sizable helping of prickly pears!


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Literature, Legacies and Legislation

American industrialist and pioneer of the assembly line process Henry Ford once said, “Speculation is only a word covering the manipulation of prices instead of the supply of goods and services” and with an ever lengthening list of criminal practices assembling on the global doorsteps of our errant bankers, it is easy to believe dubious business initiatives embracing a sales rather than service culture have been the modus operandi by which the banking elite have manipulated their way into a life of excess and affluence.

Yet, after decades of the exploitation of financial deregulation to secure profits at any price, CBI chief John Crickland is keen to point out now is not the time to seek payback for all those who have fallen foul of this relentless reign of economic plundering.  Instead he believes we should focus on how best to prevent this legacy of banking fraudulence from coming home to roost. Not only is he calling for legislation to place time limits on claimants who have been miss sold PPI but he also believes people who have suffered Libor related losses should be legislatively discouraged from bringing cases against the culprits for fear the costs of compensation will be impossible to deliver.

However, seemingly unperturbed by either lobbyists worries or recent reports that sixty six billion pounds of bank bailout debt is unlikely ever to be repaid, some of the very same individuals who condoned both Libor manipulation and the miss selling of ever increasing numbers of financial products are still, with the endorsement of their regulators and the law, misrepresenting their forty billion pound toxic loan books to disguise their losses while enjoying sizable rewards for failure. Furthermore, despite austerity led postponement of UK retirement dates along with reduced pension incomes (current and future) for the majority, these morally challenged individuals are also to have a comfortable share of a combined pension fund amounting to in excess of one hundred and four million pounds. Fortunately for them a sum of this magnitude will provide individual annuities of several hundred thousand pounds of indexed retirement income per year.

In contrast, all I can show for the past four years of endless communication with a bank which has already been fined 3.5 million pounds for the miss handling of 45% of its complaints, is £500 in compensation from the Financial Ombudsman for their own miss handling of my case and a half page letter from HBOS advising me they are finally about to investigate my miss sold mortgage.
However, if regulators remain adamant it is both difficult and inappropriate to prosecute banksters for their crimes and legislation continues to find ways to favor them above me, in the absence of resorting to getting those responsible round the throat and attempting to throttle the life out of them, I suspect it is will prove increasingly necessary for me to tweak my game.

To this end I plan to,

  • Contact Hilary Messer of RPW solicitors to explore the benefits of a mortgage miss selling class action
  • Speak to a mortgage miss selling claims firm to discuss both my eligibility and how best to quantify loss
  • Compile a list of "fictional" characters from the banking world on which to base my book.

Foundling father and third President of the United States Thomas Jefferson once said, “The glow of one warm thought is to me worth more than money” and despite enduring overwhelming frustration and a great deal of heartache at the hands of both the Halifax Bank of Scotland and the Financial Ombudsman Service, I must admit this last thought has left me feeling I know exactly what President Jefferson means.

Here's hoping some of my readers may be prepared to help me dish the dirt! 

Friday, 9 November 2012

Fat, Cats and the Cream

Albert Einstein once said, “Wire telegraph is like a very, very long cat, you pull its tail in New York and his head is meowing in Los Angeles. Radio operates in exactly the same way: you send signals here they receive them there. The only difference is that there is no cat” yet, despite almost one hundred years of technological advancement and much virtual cat tail pulling on my part I have, until this week, remained both impatient and noticeably void of any communication on the subject of my Halifax Bank of Scotland mortgage miss-selling case or my complaint sighting unfair practices within the Financial Ombudsman Service.

Regularly experiencing,firsthand, the lack of regulatory impetus which continues to halt the complaints progress for the individual, it has been no surprise to hear that not only are global financial reforms falling behind schedule but the larger banks have been given yet more time (some as late as 2019) to comply with new risk management regulation. In a climate where the UK's Treasury Select Committee are fearful that without their oversight the long awaited Financial Services Authority report into the collapse of HBOS may not otherwise be “fair and balanced” it is not difficult to imagine the individual will never be heard with the odds so grossly and unequally stacked against them.

Reports stating the UK’s corporate and banking elite are not only having a profitable and prosecution free recession but will also enjoy an average of 27% in pay increases this year only add to an over all sense of futility felt by those suffering the job losses and home repossessions as a direct result of widespread banking criminality and unlawful market manipulation. Far from reconciling the vast and ever increasing divide between those of us who have been forced to shoulder the consequences of economic terrorism and those who continue to turn it to their advantage, it is nigh on impossible to believe anyone but the cream of the FTSE elite can expect anything even close to economic justice or a comforting pre-Christmas windfall.

Further more, with the knowledge that some victims of PPI miss-selling waited almost two decades to secure redress for this multi billion pound act of corporately endorsed banking fraud while four long years having passed since Tony Boorman, the principal Financial Ombudsman in 2008, first told Channel Four several banks were under investigation for mortgage miss-selling, it has been nothing short of fanciful to hold hopes that endless hours of carefully researched communication will result in one individual’s anguish being either acknowledged or heard by anyone other than a few loyal FB friends and a modest number of Life after Debt Blog and Twitter followers.

However, this week nothing could be further from the truth. I am delighted to report, after years of fighting and writing, I have received,
  • Two hundred and forty five page views, twenty four comments, seventeen additional followers along with fifteen retweets all as a result of my Platitudes and Placations post

  •   A formal acknowledgement from the Financial Ombudsman Service stating that, after almost a whole year of waiting, my overvaluation complaint is finally being investigated by HBOS


  • A lengthy letter from the FOS team manager which fully investigates their dealings with me, “sincerely apologizes” (twice) for their “failings” in the handling of my case and ask me to accept £500 by way of compensation for the “distress and inconvenience” I have suffered.

Albert Einstein also said, “Reality is a mere illusion” and despite the impression that countless hours dedicated to stating my case had seemingly fallen on deaf ears, in reality, my very, very, long communication cat has been howling its head off. I only wish those who caused the "distress and inconvenience" could be made to pick up the bill instead of the long suffering taxpayer.