Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Discovery of Truth

Nineteenth century philosopher and critical thinker Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “The discovery of truth is prevented more effectively, not by the false appearance of things present which then mislead into error, nor by weakness of the reasoning powers, but instead by preconceived opinion, by prejudice” and there is little doubt in my mind that preconceived opinion played a major role in keeping the extent of banking criminality and its capture of our government from the wider audience for many a year.

Even now, after countless government inquiries, regulatory investigations and whistle blower revelations the “company line”  along with that of outgoing governor of the Bank of England, Mervyn King, is to refer to banking crimes as system errors or mistakes and in so doing allow the culprits to remain at liberty while a molecular level of banking criminality continues to contaminate far and wide. Common sense and history tell us rewarding illegal behavior only encourages more of it yet in the absence of any deterrent or moral restraint, banksters have been permitted to wreak economic carnage while their regulators have refused to use the law to affect redress.

Invisible to the naked eye of regulatory enforcement and further aided by the preconception derived from a misplaced belief that banking integrity must still be inherent in the City, the light touch of deregulation has served only to pave the way for tantalizingly lucrative but nonetheless entirely illegal pastimes for those with sufficient power with which to implement them.

  •  Laundered money for drug cartels
  •  Laundered money for terrorists
  •  Sold toxic mortgage products
  •  Miss sold insurance products
  •  Misrepresented the nature of their loan books
  •  Disguised volatile investment products as low risk to off load their exposure
  •  Misrepresented their exposure to risk.
  •  Engaged in insider trading
  •  Manipulated markets, LIBOR and anything else they could lay their hands on.
  • Participated in various Ponzi schemes and,
  • Cooked their books to mislead the government, their regulators, their investors, their shareholders and the general public alike.
As a direct result of these crimes many people have lost their homes, their livelihoods and their financial futures. Prejudged by the banks and their henchmen to be scoundrels and wasters who are not prepared to face up to their responsibilities (rather than being acknowledged as victims of banking criminality) we have been left with only two options.

  • To accept ruin at the hands of these scurrilous banksters and withdraw, with our families, to wait for the relentless persecution of their henchman.

Having chosen the latter I have, over the past five years, become well versed in each and every guideline set down for the behavior of creditors during the complaints process. However, being privy to this information has made it no less distressing to discover the Halifax Bank of Scotland have chosen to instruct their debt collectors to initiate recovery proceedings for my disputed mortgage shortfall during the complaints process. Deeply troubled by actions which blatantly flaunt both regulatory and mortgage code guidelines, I have been nothing short of astounded to receive the Financial Ombudsman Service’s response to my request that they ask  HBOS to suspend recovery action until my case has secured a Financial Ombudsman Service ruling.

This was their reply,

Dear [Life after Debt]...

“I have spoken with Bank of Scotland regarding the letters you provided and your statement that you are finding them distressing [however,] I must manage your expectations at this time ...  to ensure you are fully aware of what we at this service can ask a business to do.

We are able to ask a business to suspend any litigation activity that it has started or intends to start while we investigate a complaint. However while we can ask the business to do this, there is no obligation for it to agree.

Yours sincerely,”

Financial Ombudsman Service Adjudicator

The executives of big banks invariably pretend wrong doing is only ever committed by one or two low level employees while both their personal and corporate objective is always to comply with financial regulators, financial guidelines and the law. However, when the truth reveals a bureaucracy such as the Financial Ombudsman Service has insufficient power to insist a lender comply with their own code of conduct and guidelines, I can only conclude there is little chance they will defy longstanding prejudice and preconception to flex their  feeble musculature in support my over valuation and mortgage miss selling case. 

Tennessee born Republican politician Ric Keller once said, "You can lead a bureaucrat to water but you can't make him think" and, if my own predicamnet is anything to go by, I can only assume this is precisely what our untouchable banksters have been counting on.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Loss and Losses

Best known for his ironic and well plotted novels examining class, turn of the twentieth century English novelist Edward Morgan Forster once said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us” and in October 2008 this is precisely what my family and I were forced to do.

  • I let go of my home when HBOS forced its sale
  • I let go of our livelihood when my husband’s business bank went into administration,

  • I let go of my financial future when I discovered a million pounds worth of unsecured debt.

As a result of this,

  • I let go of my pride in always having paid my way,
  • I let go of the friends who could not endure the knowledge of our indebtedness and
  • I let go of any hope of ever affecting a recovery.
In the years that followed I lost, my financial reputation, my hair and my confidence and the life which was waiting for me definitely was not the one I would ever have chosen.

Over the past three months alone I have also let go of,

  • My car under the terms of voluntary surrender
  • Our Spanish apartment now it has been seized by the bank and,
  • A fair amount of my time now my eighty six year old mother has become increasingly dependent on me.
However, while “letting go” has naturally been fraught with grief for I life I no longer have, the life which was waiting for me has also delivered some unexpected rewards.

  • The kindness shown by those who continue to come to my aid has been nothing short of astounding
  • The written word in the form of my comments and my blog has not only given me access to expertise but provided me with the voice I longed for and,
  • The product of my hard work, focus and bloody minded determination has not only encouraged infamous banking giants and their regulators to sit up and take notice but from time to time it has even made them squirm!
Retired four star general and American statesman Colin Luther Powell once said, “A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work” and although I continue to wait, without patience, for my un-redacted HBOS file there are I now days when I dare to dream all that will be required of me to let go of in the future is the mortgage shortfall debt these infamous banksters chose to create and saddle me with over the past five excruciating years.

This is the life I have planned for and this is the life I sincerely hope is waiting for me.