First Viscount Saint Alban, philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist and author, Francis bacon once said," It's not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong: not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich: not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned: and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity" and although I have drawn strength from words such as these throughout each and every excruciating year spent in the ruthless jaws of the Halifax Bank of Scotland, I suspect for the vast majority of those I am forced to deal with, strength of resolve, fair practice and integrity occupy a negligible space among their tasks in hand and this week’s correspondence has offered little opportunity to think otherwise.
Following receipt of the Financial Ombudsman Service’s confirmation that my miss selling case has been accepted and is now awaiting allocation to an adjudicator, I have requested a copy of every single document relating to my Bank of Scotland mortgage from the following organisations.
- The solicitor who conveyed my mortgage
- The Bank of Scotland archive
- The surveyors instructed to value my property
- The mortgage broker who introduced our application to HBOS
Excited in anticipation of the information my actions might afford me, I was delighted to find my solicitor happily agreed to put the matter in hand immediately and, in spite of a history of reluctance to assist in my compliant, I am equally pleased to report HBOS have agreed to furnish me with the information I require by 1 April.
Both the surveyors and the broker have not.
Much to my astonishment, not only have I discovered the surveyors instructed to value my home were salaried HBOS employees, but because of a specific instruction by the Bank of Scotland at the time of application stating I should not be supplied with the valuation, these same HBOS employees remain unwilling to part with any information now. Furthermore, the broker who placed our £790,000 mortgage with HBOS in 2006, and by so doing earned himself a healthy £4,000 fee, now regrets they are unable to supply copies of documents relating to my mortgage application because their regulators do not require them to keep records for this length of time.
As my recently acquired advocate and I smell a rat, I have written to the Financial Services Authority to ask for their comments on the mortgage brokers letter. I now wait with interest to learn the outcome.
American novelist and author Lloyd Alexander said, “We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than from learning the answer itself” and while some continue to seek answers which negate bonus caps and others prefer profits to serve the greater good, I plan to practice the art of asking questions of HBOS because I am convinced it is as organisation where fraud has come naturally and because of this I am now paying the price.