Saturday, 22 February 2014

Washed Up

Irish playwright, journalist and co-founder of the London school of Economics, George Bernard Shaw once said, “Cruelty must be whitewashed by moral excuse and pretence of reluctance” and unsurprisingly my experience in the ineffectual hands of the Financial Ombudsman Service has amounted to nothing less.

Established in 2001 by parliament, the Financial Ombudsman Service is supposed to be an impartial and independent body which settles disputes between consumers and UK based businesses providing financial services. We are encouraged to believe the law requires the ombudsman to take into account relevant law and regulations, regulator's rules, guidance and standards, codes of practice, and (where appropriate) what he/she considers to have been good industry practice at the relevant time, in order to make decisions which are fair and reasonable. From a current case load of over 500,000 each year (a level which has swelled its ranks by four fold since the onset of the banking crisis in 2008), it is estimated the FOS rule in favour of the complainant in approximately 49% of cases.

As a result of my appeal to have my case against HBOS reviewed by an ombudsman, my FOS Final Response has not only dismissed the majority of my case as immaterial and irrelevant but my ombudsman states she has “difficulty in accepting” my claim that either HBOS or their mortgage broker acted fraudulently in order to secure my mortgage business.

I am told she, like my adjudicator, is;

“Not required to respond at ... length or to respond to each and every point raised” but instead has “considered the case in the light of the lending climate at the time [having] noted that the bank has said it will not be pursuing Mr and Mrs [Life after Debt] for the shortfall debt" (a statement which is completely untrue).

Despite the basis of my complaint being that my mortgage application was submitted on line by a broker I never met using an application form I never saw and information I did not supply, I am further advised;
  • “ The bank could not have been expected to know the information about the purchase price and date was untrue”
  • “The [brokers signature] on the application form [and the photo copied passports] confirms there was a face to face meeting”
  •  “The factual inaccuracies in the application...were signed as being true”
What is more she has also informed me, with complete disregard for my protestations that her findings are based on false assumptions and not the evidence, the FOS will be publishing her travesty of a ruling on my case on their website.

Former Chief Ombudsman Walter Merricks once said, “The FOS is an unusual creature. One I would suggest parliament would not have dared to create had the ground work not been laid by a series of voluntary initiatives. It is a one sided scheme offering an unlevel playing field broadly supported by those playing up hill...We do not have to pretend to find what the law is. We unashamedly make new law”.

After six whole years engaged in battle with HBOS which now includes a shambolic, whitewashed FOS investigation into my case of complaint, I have now been thrown straight back into the lawless clutches of one the most infamous banks and their debt collectors.

I find this not only to be immensely cruel, but also wholly immoral and completely unjust.

1 comment:

  1. There is only one reason why the banks use a broker to obtain mortgage customers. The reason is, so that the bank can perpetrate fraud on the consumer without being held liable for their acts (as you have come to learn).

    The banks originated mortgages through brokers so that when the homeowner got wind that they'd been duped/defrauded/conned, then the bank could point to the broker and say in effect, who me?...not little old innocent was the broker! ...when in fact, it was really the bank all along. You see, the bank knows that the little high street, small business man, mortgage broker is dispensable, which means, that the legal risk and liability of the con perpetrated by the bank against the homeowner could be directed to the door of the mortgage broker. Note how it is the mortgage broker who is alleged to be the culprit in these stories! Whilst the mortgage broker is indeed a culprit, the broker actually a pawn used by the bank specifically to shield the bank from the legal risk. The mortgage broker is therefore more often and is usually, an unwitting accompliance to the banker's fraud....And that is exactly WHY the banks used the mortgage broker to 'package' the mortgage applications in the first place!


    Note that the bank has always been the beneficiary of the mortgage broker's alleged mis-deeds. Cui bono...not the mortgage broker...they've usually gone out of business...i.e., as the per the bank's design, the mortgage broker is dispensable and that is why the bank used the broker in the first place. You see, doing a mortgage application on line does NOT need a broker. There is no reason why the bank could not have directly marketed its mortgage products to the homeowner. It is common knowledge in mortgage origination circles that the only reason for the bank using mortgage brokers IS to mitigate the bank's legal risk. The bank could mitigate their legal risk by acting lawfully, OR if they want to act unlawfully, they could mitigate their legal risk by using a mortgage broker and let the mortgage broker be the fall guy.

    You will recall that following the 1986 'Big Bang' deregulation of the City, that the high street mortgage broker became the new phenomena through the 1990's. Then came the government's pretence that there was financial regulation of banks and mortgage brokers in the late 1990's with the introduction of the FSA. So consumers had a very false sense of legal protection, when in fact, the whole point of using a mortgage broker was NOT really about giving independent financial advise, it was because the banks wanted mortgage brokers to be their patsy.

    Do you think there would have been such a huge number of mortgage brokers appearing on the high street if the bankers were not going to use their service? The growth of the high street mortgage broker businesses was not a result of consumer demand for their services, but rather as a result of the bank's desire to use the broker's as the middle man to mitigate its legal risk. Likewise, the only reason consumers used a mortgage broker was because the bank was only accessible to the consumer ONLY through the broker. See...The banks controls everything.

    The upshot is, don't fall for the 'distraction' techniques of the accomplished conman (i.e., the bank) who would like you to waste your time and energy on arguing and litigating against the mortgage broker, look to the real villain in the story and that's the bank!