Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Shocks and Horrors

Founder of the Johnson Publishing Company, grandson of slaves and the first African American to appear on the Forbes 400 list, John Harold Johnson, once said, “Dream small dreams. If you make them too big, you get overwhelmed and you don’t do anything. If you make small goals and accomplish them, it gives you the confidence to go on to higher goals” and, as a victim of the banking crisis, I have been left with no alternative but to face our family’s problems in much the same way.

Still reeling from the loss of my home, my livelihood and my financial future, I have spent the past five years piecing together a life which was shattered as a consequence of the fraudulent behaviour of the banks. Initially my goals were as small as I could make them but at times it was impossible not to be daunted by objectives I was regularly told were insurmountable because of our circumstances.
  •      Unable to stay in our home, I left no stone unturned in my search for a house.
  •     Unable to produce a satisfactory credit reference I located landlords who were prepared to accept character references
  •     Unable to cover the heating costs of the only house available to me I obtained permission to take lodgers
  •     Unable to fund my children’s school fees I swallowed my pride and went cap in hand to ask for bursaries
  •          Unable to arrest HBOS’s relentless pursuit of my massive £217,000 mortgage shortfall, I approached the Financial Ombudsman Service to make a complaint.

As a result of my efforts,

  •     My husband, my children and I have had five uninterrupted years in a vast, crumbling, family friendly farmhouse.
  •     My landlord has, for the first time ever, enjoyed five years of uninterrupted rental income safe in the knowledge we would care for and make minor repairs to his crumbling pile.
  •     My lodgers have enjoyed the comforts of living in a family home at a price they could afford.
  •      My children have benefited from an independent education at a school which was struggling to maintain its numbers

  •      The Financial Ombudsman Service agreed, on two separate occasion, to adjudicate my case against HBOS

However, after five years of painstakingly working to rebuild our life, I have watched in horror as much of what I initially achieved has unravelled over the past six months;

  •     A hand delivered Section 13 notice from our landlord’s solicitor dictates a 50%  increase in rent will be effective from 5 Dec and as a result of our inability to pay my family and I are facing homelessness again.
  •     Finding any property via letting agents has proved hopeless as, five years on, they remain unable to put us forward without a satisfactory credit check
  •     Full bursary funded independent education for my dyslexic son’s secondary education is unlikely to be forthcoming as it is improbable he will achieve the required 55% grade in his common entrance exam.


  •     After ten months of rebuilding my second HBOS case of complaint when the Financial Ombudsman Service mishandled my first submission, my adjudicator has finally replied. I have had to waited twelve whole weeks to hear;

“I would like to apologise for not responding to the previous emails you sent across or keeping you updated on your complaint...[but HBOS] has confirmed that it is unable to get hold of [their in house conveyance solicitors] Pathway Residential Property Lawyers. It has confirmed it has called the contact numbers it holds which have a recorded message stating the service is no longer in use. It has also been unable to find a direct website in relation to the business. It has written to them but it would appear that it is unlikely a response will be received. As such I am unconvinced that any further information will be able to be obtained to add as evidence to your complaint...[therefore] I feel it would be right for me to start my consideration of your complaint as it would appear that there is little further information that can be obtained” .

As a result of this experience I can only conclude exoneration for HBOS is the normal result of toothless regulatory apathy while negligent record keeping along with obstructive behaviour appear to be banking business practices intentionally designed to impair complaint. If this is indeed the case, it is little wonder Lloyds Bank and HBOS’ CEO Antonio Horta Osorio, against a back drop of wide spread public hardship, is happy to publicly proclaim they are “back to being a normal company” safe in the knowledge that those of us who are still suffering from the shocks and horrors of  the fallout from their actions continue to be overwhelmed however much we manage our expectations and tailor our goals.

Many of us are still;
  •     Unable to stay in our homes.
  •     Unable to produce satisfactory financial credit references
  •     Unable to find adequately paid employment
  •     Unable to cover our heating costs

  •     Unable to arrest the relentless pursuit of fraudulent creditors by making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.

     American writer, associate editor of Fortune magazine and futurist Alvin Toffler once said, “Man 
     has a  limited biological capacity for change. When this capacity is over whelmed, the capacity for the 
     future is shock” and having ridden and survived a five year holocaust of  brutal and unsolicited change            only to find myself no further forward, leaves me shocked, overwhelmed and a seemingly
     insurmountable distance from Antonio Horta Osorio’s “back to being normal”.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure what to say Caroline. As a litany of ill-fortune your case is exceptional.
    When it comes to the conveyancing - presumably there are names of individual solicitors on the documents. If any of those named there are or were solicitors at the time it will be possible to find where they are now through the Law Society of England & Wales or the Law Society of Scotland. Their respective websites may do the trick - if not write to their registrars to enquire whether the person you seek is a solicitor and where they are employed. If you can locate them at a place of work email their employer with an enquiry setting out evidence of the mortgage fraud. Employers like that!!! If you eventually locate one or more seek their assistance in providing you an affidavit setting out their involvement and what instructions they may have received from their employers (including personnel names if possible).

    If you get anywhere please feel free to contact me privately on