Non-conformist Welsh minister, Presbyterian preacher and prolific seventeenth century religious author Matthew Henry, once said, “There are none so deaf as those who will not hear and none so blind as those who will not see” and for those seeking justice for financial injuries suffered as a consequence of the bankster driven economic crisis, Henry’s words ring particularly true.
Recent years have not only revealed the numerous ways in which the UK’s banks have been prepared to defraud their shareholders, their customers and the taxpayer but they have also served to demonstrate the extent to which those who govern and regulate their actions have been prepared to turn a blind eye. As a result, very little has changed to the way in which banks do business and even less has changed to the way in which they treat their victims.
These days little mention is made of businesses crippled by miss sold interest rate swaps, pensioners whose incomes halved when “with profit” promises could not be kept or families who have suffered the consequences of miss sold mortgages. Instead, we are encouraged to put the past behind us and embrace the current signs of economic recovery feeling safe in the knowledge that “new” banking regulations are playing an invaluable and pivotal part in the UK’s economic success.
Cameron, Carney and Wheatley would all have us believe,
- The irresponsible avarice driven banking of the crisis has been addressed by a cap on cash bonuses (despite obscene bonuses still being awarded in shares).
- Jailing bankers for market manipulation or clawing back pay and bonuses will serve no useful purpose.
- Getting under the skin of what was going on in the industry, [has enabled the FCA to carry]...out research to make sure the stark message issued was understood and being acted upon”
- And, accepting hundreds of thousands of pounds in political donations from HSBC does not colour the perspective of government policy
- It has taken thirteen years of investigative reporting and a high court ruling to address the widespread mis-selling of PPI
- It took more than a decade and a government bill to secure very limited redress for those who were parted from their pensions by Equitable Life
- It has taken ten years (so far) and a Serious Organised Crime Agency investigation to raise a mere flicker of interest in the plight of the victims of the HBOS Reading scandal
- True to form, it has taken seven years of media coverage and industry whistle-blowing to expose the mechanics of widespread mortgage mis-selling but still no Ombudsman ruling or formal regulatory interest.
As per usual, I will not be holding my breath.
American born moral and social philosopher and author, Eric Hoffer, once said, “Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy-the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much hope and expectation” and after all these years of searching for assistance and, in the absence of any form of Bank of Scotland communications, here’s hoping my latest attempt to secure a lawyer, this time one who specialises in mortgage mis-selling, will not result in any further bankrupting of my soul.