Friday, 16 August 2013

Socially Useless Banking Regulation

Ardent socialist, co-founder of the London School of economics, novelist and playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “Until the men of action clear out the talkers, we who have social consciences are at the mercy of those who have none” and true to form, the talkers would have us believe austerity measures along with the reform of banking regulation have put both the heartache and the economic implications of the banking scandal firmly behind us.

Keen to keep us all abreast of the good news we are told;
However, for the  99% of us who occupy the real world, the picture remains significantly less rosy;
  • The long overdue FSA/FCA investigative report into the collapse of HBOS is to be delayed until next year.
  • “Economic recovery has been restricted to those at the is not recovery for most people” Labour spokesman to Reuters 
  • “A significant cohort of UK borrowers could experience financial difficulties if interest rates were to rise during a period of subdued income growth,” Financial Stability Report
  •  Living standards in the UK are lower than they have been for a decade because inflation is still outstripping wage increases Reuters
  •  Barclays and Lloyds have set aside a further 450 million to compensate people they have defrauded and Lloyds have used delaying tactics to encourage complainants to give up on their claims. 
In addition to these far from comforting social truths,  
  • The recently published bi-annual Financial Stability Report states, the banks Financial Policy Committee relaxed the regulations for the UK’s big four lenders to allow them to "reduce their capital requirements by 20%"  and in so doing has provided them with a further 70 billion of cunningly disguised bailout.
Meanwhile, trapped between the legacy of widespread and hitherto unpunished banking avarice and the greed of my landlord, my family and I wait, without patience, for;
  • HBOS to supply me with information I require to progress my case of complaint to the FOS
  • The FOS to respond to my 1 August request that they ask HBOS to supply me with the information I have been awaiting for eight long months
  • My landlord's builders to finish their noisy decimation of the Grade 2 listed property I have called home for the past five years
  •  A letter from my landlord’s solicitor to advise me he wishes to increase my rent by a staggering 50% as a result of the installation of an extremely expensive, entirely unsolicited, sustainably fuelled heating system.
In October 2012, Any Haldene, Executive Director of Financial Stability and member of the Financial Policy Committee, made a speech to Occupy Economics to advocate socially useful banking. He said “concrete, practical proposals for change” would be delivered by way of banking reforms which addressed the five “c’s” (culture, capital, compensation, credit and competition) and further stated, “We know too that the costs of crises are felt disproportionately by the worst-off in society whose living standards tend to fall not just relatively but absolutely”. Yet, five arduous years on since my family and I lost our home, our livelihood and our financial futures, the talk continues while, for the 99%, the painful consequences of the crisis remain unchanged.

Stoic philosopher, inspirational master of equanimity and the last of the five good emperors of Rome, Marcus Aurelius, once said, “The guest at the lower end of the middle couch...who is digging in his big mouth with a toothpick is a fraud. He has no teeth” and while I wait, without mercy for the toothless Financial Ombudsman Service, to progress my miss selling complaint against HBOS, I can only conclude both the talkers, the bankers and the regulators are precisely the same.


  1. Caroline - I am not sure what I can say to be positive in the circumstances. Your outline of the macro economic situation vis-a-vis the financial services industry is right on the button; delay and obfuscation is the official policy until the last complainant left standing gives up/walks away. Thankfully that's not going to happen as you are among a group of ardent and stoical individuals who won't give up. As for your landlord I really don't know what to say other than you should be seeking a rent reduction for the loss of 'quiet enjoyment'. There are others better qualified than me on this - I have been away from UK for too long BUT feel confident a landlord isn't going to want a fight with a good reliable tenant as they are few and far between.

    All I can say is keep going and keep the matters in the public glare.

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    2. Thanks for your encouraging words. Not always easy to maintain my resolve but doing my best to remain positive about a better future and a just outcome from my battling with HBOS. Sincerely hope I will not be the last (wo)man standing but when it comes to fighting adversity but I have no plans to give up anytime soon.

  2. Hi Caroline, well-written and insightful piece, if only it wasn't rooted in such bitter and unfair experience. I assume you've tried negotiating with the agents about your landlord's absurd rent increase? (Might a before and after valuation work?) Also, have you written to your MP about the lack of information you're receiving, they might be able to nudge them by reminding them there can be no good reason for this kind of with-holding...?
    Best of luck with everything, hope it improves, S.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to reply and advise. I had hoped to negotiate with the landlords agents but as you may well know by now from my latter blogs, my landlord appears to have completely lost the plot. I am now seriously concerned that we might be facing his shotgun next he visits so have now involved the police. On the HBOS front,the FOS have given me a 27 September deadline by which time they hope to have decided whether or not they can persuade HBOS to release the documentation I require. If its not forthcoming, and as you quite rightly suggest, my next stop is likely to be my MP. I apologize for my late reply but I have been completely overwhelmed on the home/landlord front.

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