Despite my best endeavours over the past three years, my HBOS trouble's have not only remained unresolved but I have been aggressively pursued by their solicitors for a shortfall which arose from their fire sale of my home. Racking my brains for a solution which would allow me to move on with my life while despondently sifting through the numerous letters both written and received from HBOS, I have concluded it is probably time to write one more, This is because, in my heart of hearts, I know full well the toothless Financial Ombudsman Service will do one of three things,
- Sidestep the issues I have outlined in my complaint,
- With-hold their opinion a on a technicality or
- Wriggle out of making any meaningful judgeme
I strongly suspect Mr Horta Osorio, if made fully aware of my case might well agree that spending more taxpayer and investor money chasing people like myself (who have been left penniless as a result of the banking crisis) for mortgage shortfalls which have already been proven to be unrecoverable, is not good business practice. My problem is not what to write but how to get my message in front of him.
My previous attempts have repeatedly failed.
However, in the unlikely event that Mr Horta-Osorio's inner circle might finally allow my message to reach him, this is what I would say,
Dear Mr Horta-Osorio,In October 2008, having previously been kept completely in the dark by my husband and having had no contact with HBOS until this time, I was informed by Dryden’s (HBOS' solicitors) of their plan to repossess my home. I immediately contacted HBOS to discuss my options and informed them I had secured a tenant who was willing to sign an assured shorthold lease and pay £2,200 a month to rent our property for a three year period. By the time the HBOS' possession order was due to take effect, this sum not only covered the mortgage but would have provided a substantial contribution towards paying off the arrears. However, HBOS flatly refused to accept this solution when we found ourselves without an income (as a consequence of the banking crisis and our Icelandic business banks collapse) insisting my proposal was made too late for them to consider.
In November 2008 HBOS to us to court, secured an order for possession which came into effect in January 2009 and completed a forced sale on my home in April 2009.
They were aware from outset neither my husband or I had the means with which to pay any shortfall arising from the discounted sale yet we are now being pursued aggressively for a shortfall which was not only of HBOS' making but for funds they know full well we do not possess.
Furthermore, HBOS’s actions escalated an arrears problem of £27,000 (which I could have been resolved by my proposal) into an unrecoverable mortgage shortfall of £217,000. Despite this, I am now being hounded for this shortfall by HBOS' appointed debt collection solicitors Merrils Ede. Both HBOS and Merrils Ede have repeatedly been told by both myself and the Citizens Advice Bureau that my husband’s income of £15,000 plus assorted state benefits is simply insufficient to service any of the £1,000,000 unsecured debt we were left with when our property development business failed in 2008.
Following the receipt of our financial evidence from the CAB, the Bank of Scotland has already very kindly offered to write off my husband’s Bank of Scotland credit card (amounting to £15,000) on compassionate grounds, but your mortgage collections department say that a shortfall of £217,000 can never be written off whatever our circumstances. I cannot understanding the thinking behind this let alone work out a solution for demands which are simply beyond our means.
Over the last two and a half years I have been persistently harassed by Merrils Ede Solicitors on HBOS’s instruction. I can only assume our file has proved a means of milking the HBOS cash cow because Merrells Ede, like HBOS, know full well there is no financial resolution I can offer them. Merrils Ede have repeatedly advised me of your plans to issue legal proceedings towards bankruptcy “without further notice” which I can only see as another illustration of how happy they are to recommend the unnecessary spending of HBOS money when both I and the CAB have made it crystal clear we have no capital wealth to offer and no income with which to make a payment arrangement.
On previous occasions I have,
· Written to your predecessors to explain our circumstances asking for a compassionate write-off in the light of our financial demise. It has been repeatedly denied.
· Asked why HBOS did not contact me about our arrears, nor sought to offer me any debt counselling advice or even include me in any conversations at either the inception of our mortgage or later when arrears became a problem. I was told that people in debt rarely want to talk to their creditors and because I am a married woman, they assumed my husband dealt with our finances.
· And, I have repeatedly asked myself why I was not allowed to save my home and our financial future by renting out our property but I struggle to understand the logic behind an HBOS decision that turned £27,000 of arrears into a shortfall of £217,000.
When you took up the helm at Lloyds banking group this year you famously commissioned your executives to “bring out your dead” asking them to leave no stone unturned. A “sense of humour failure” was promised if, in twelve months time, more skeletons were found in the Lloyds and HBOS closets. However, I and my family remain one of your concealed dead, festering on an HBOS desk where I lie in a purgatory which has not only put my life on hold but consists of repeated and relentless financial persecution for money I simply do not have. I have remained in this position for nearly three excruciating years while those at the Lloyds Banking Group move on with their lives. I desperately need the luck of the Irish buy to let borrowers or perhaps the vision of HBOS funded businessman David Murray in order to secure a mortgage shortfall write off and free my family from the continued bullying of HBOS debt collection agents.On the other hand, if this letter does ever reach you, all I may need is you.
Life after Debt