Sunday, 18 December 2011

Rot and Regulators

Marcus Aurelius once said, “Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth” and having opened an email from the Ombudsman’s adjudicator, I am endeavouring to focus on the wisdom of this Ancient Roman Emperor’s as I contemplate my appointed FOS representative’s thinly veiled words of contempt for my fourteen page letter asking for her help.
While the FSA are happy to spend tax payers money by the million on “shaped” investigative reports that avoid holding RBS executives to account and David Cameron continues to trade on his selective Christian principals to explain how “quick [he] has been to forgive the bankers” along with his “biblical” reasons for not seeking retribution, it seems evident the circling of waggons to protect the select few is high on the Financial Ombudsman’s Service’s agenda too. I have grown used to the obstructive attitude of the complaints business as a result of my pursuit of a full, formal and detailed investigation into the unnecessary forced sale of my home by HBOS.

Since I initially contacted the FOS for their help in April 2011 I have been told,

·       They “cannot interfere with the commercial judgement of a business” despite the fact that it clearly states on their web-based consumer fact sheet that, “In some ways we are like a court of law- and our Ombudsmen are like judges.”

·       It is not their job to look back at a situation “with the benefit of hindsight” and change the outcome in spite of their consumer fact sheet stating, where an individual has lost out because of a business’s actions, “we can tell the business what to do to put things right”.

·       They cannot see how “exactly [I] expected [HBOS] to contact me directly” with regard to the mortgage arrears that led to repossession of my home even though I have on good authority HBOS have a legally binding “duty of care” to me in this respect.

·       They cannot see “how it would have been possible for [me] to have dealt with these arrears on my own even if [HBOS] had managed to contact [me] directly” or make use of this information to avoid the repossession of my family home, despite in clearly stating in the HBOS Mortgage Conditions Booklet that letting an HBOS mortgaged property is an option albeit “with the lenders permission”. In fact the FSO’s own technical note explains, in detail, how they investigate a complaint about premature or unnecessary repossession.

·       They “cannot see there is anything to be gained by addressing each of the points within my complaint individually” even though it clearly states in their fact sheet they “don’t take sides and always take a fresh look at the situation.”
Yesterdays FSO correspondence now states,
·        “As [HBOS] initially stated that the complaint was outside of the Financial Ombudsman's jurisdiction, it is likely that this element will need to be dealt with first [and] as such it is likely to be sometime until this is finalised” and my case passed on to an Ombudsman for investigation.
Astounded by the throwing of an HBOS favouring spanner into the works and further outraged because I believed I had addressed the issue of juristiction and laid it to rest at outset, I cannot pretend to be surprised I have unearthed yet more evidence of regulatory tolerance for banker’s criminality. Furthermore I was  completely unprepared to find the Financial Ombudsman Service would, like HBOS’s own complaints department, be unashamed of their tainted allegiances and unrepentant for their acts of discrimination against me to the extent they would put it in writing.

Having compiled my reply I remain in wait, once again, in the hope my HBOS compliant will  receive the airing I believe it deserves while I marvelling at those who believe we are best served by watered down banking reform and regulation. With David Cameron descibing himself as an intermittent but practising Christian who allows himself to “ignore the biblical passages concerning the sick and the poor”  there is little wonder the way is left clear for our regulators to feel empowered to protect the favoured few.  Bureaucratic endorsement of regulatory apathy and injustice for the majority not only ignores basic human values in favour of supporting the prosperity of the self appointed elite but the self-interest of government driven directives to forgive the criminal actions of the casino bankers avoids their prosecution and leaves their swag bags bloated an untouched.

Thomas Jefferson once said,“ Is it less dishonest to do what is wrong because it is not expressly prohibited by written law?” I for one cannot imagine this is a conundrum the greedy bankers, David Cameron or his puppet regulators spend any time whatsoever deliberating over. For the favoured few the law, government guidelines and codes of conduct created for the benefit of the greater good are completely irrelevant.

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