Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Debt Sentences

If Albert Einstein once thought our technology exceeded our humanity, I can only imagine what he would say of our banking culture today.  This week alone I have read an open letter of resignation from a Goldman Sachs executive director speaking of toxic investment practises along with an ex banker's declaration stating his “mildly revolting” earnings pale into insignificance when compared with the current “completely obscene” remunerations of his untalented former colleagues.  In these circumstancest is not difficult to conclude a bland, mediocre man at the helm of the FSA has been essential to ensure this unregulated reign of economic terror has continued for as long as it has.
On hearing these revelations from within the financial sector it has been no surprise to also hear the FSA’s lengthy and expensive investigation into the Bank of Scotland has finally confirmed precisely what so many of us already knew via a government commissioned report which exposes gross misconduct on the part of the Bank of Scotland’s board of directors. At long last the way has been paved for a much overdue wave of criminal prosecutions against the too big to fail perpitraitors of these economic crimes.
Yet, despite evidence of banking fraud finally reaching the public domain, I am still facing a fight to obtain a full Financial Ombudsman’s investigation in to my own case because this very same infamous banking giant has chosen to make use of an FSA jurisdiction clause to thwart further assessment of my complaint. This clause dictates an individual has only a six months to bring a case to the Financial Ombudsman’s Service while, in contrast, the Bank of Scotland have jurisdiction for twelve years to pursue me for a debt they have both created and, despite their denials, continued to correspond with me about for three years.
It has also come to light that if I sign to accept their jurasdiction arguement and agree to their “goodwill” offer to remove Merrels Ede solicitors from my case giving me eighteen months respite from their pursuit, I could well be acting to my detriment in more ways than one. Tempting though it is to obtain this guarantee from the Bank of Scotland, it is my belief signing an agreement of this nature will in itself be an admission of my responsibility for a debt I have always believed the Bank of Scotland created and not me. Furthermore, not only will my signature amount to an admission of this liability but it will also re-calibrate the twelve year clock from the day I put my mark on the Bank of Scotland's document and  in so doing extend their jurisdication for my pursuit by another three years. At present I stand three years into this debt sentence.
Equally infuriating is the fact that the Bank of Scotland are to not to receive so much as a slap on the wrist from the FOS for setting their brutish debt collectors  on me, because, in spite of being in receipt of more than twenty letters from myself and the CAB explaining, in detail, my reduced financial circumstances, the FOS are happy to believe the Bank of Scotland were not fully aware of my position. It is said banks who have been the subject of bailouts are continuing to prove the economic theory of moral hazard true in that those who go unpunished because of  government rescue packages continue to make the same mistakes. If my case is anything to go by, the Bank of Scotland are no exception to this rule and are now, more than ever, keen to lay the blame firmly at the door of the individual while using every rouse they can to wriggle out of their moral obligations to the victims of their greedy, self actuating behaviour.
So, as the school holidays approach and my case remains unresolved, I am forced once again, to negotiate with a very disgruntled Financial Ombudsman’s adjudicator who never fails to go to great lengths to be more than fair to my gigantic adversary. Explaining my desperate need for unencumbered child free time to give my case the attention it deserves, I have (thankfully) secured her reluctant consent for an extension to her deadline. This will give me a much needed opportunity to take advice and pursue some FSA technicalities of my own. However, I am told the price I have paid for this opportunity is I will never secure this kind of consideration from her again.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man” and despite recommendations from many who know me, along with a fair few from those who don’t, it seems acting beyond the reason of others is the only way left for me to secure progress towards a debt free life for my family.


Thanks to my FOS extension, I now have four debt fighting free weeks to spend with my children and in the words of the reggae band playing outside the Radio Four Workshop for script writers I went to this weekend, I say to all those who have expressed concern for me this week,

“Don’t worry, be happy, every little thing is going to be alright!”

...and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Bob Marley is right.

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