Plato once said, “Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws” and, to my intense irritation, this morning’s endeavours at my lawyers office were no exception to this disheartening observation. Once again it has been revealed there are yet more HBOS favouring obstacles in my path to prevent the law from making HBOS accountable for actions which now appear to have been pivotal to our overall financial demise as well as the loss of our home.When, in October 2008, I first discovered to what lengths my husband had over extended to keep our property development company afloat, my focus was on debt forgiveness for the £217,000 mortgage shortfall HBOS chose to create when they forced a sale on home. Initially unaware of HBOS’s sexist and neglectful attitude towards their duty of care to customers, it did not occur to me that this infamous bank had actually played, through its corporate growth at any cost policy, a leading role in our financial downfall.
I now strongly suspect the opposite and plan to do my level best to prove it.
Hearing of a banking policy to over value properties for mortgage purposes in the USA and then discovering HBOS themselves had launched a pre-crisis mortgage product offering 125% loan to value (in Nov 2006) prompted me to consider the possibility that our home might have been overvalued too. I now believe HBOS' objective in April 2006 was not to raise us money against the equity within our property but instead it was to sell us a £790,000 mortgage against equity we simply did not have. My theory is further supported by the fact that our only prospective purchaser's surveyor down valued our home (by a massive £150,000) to £800,000 in April 2008 after HBOS had valued it a whopping £925,000 less than two years earlier. When HBOS eventually sold our home in April 2009 for a mere £665,000, I began to smell a very large HBOS rat.
Aghast at the implications it became clear to me that the attempts to sell our house between April 2007 and September 2008 had been completely futile and, for the first time, I began to comprehend just how much the HBOS culture of making a sale at any price had actually cost us. Not only had it, from outset, made it impossible to sell our home without creating a shortfall for years to come, but it also misled us into thinking there was enough equity within our main residence (15% of its value) to complete our building development project from the proceeds of its sale. What is more, this building project was not only destined to provide both a new home for our family but also was also designed to provide a generous residual income from its two letting units. In addition it was also earmarked to provide the security for a further building project on which my husband had already spent £50,000 obtaining an option and planning permission for the construction of twenty-three Eco friendly homes, all of which a housing association had already agreed to purchase off plan. This project alone was estimated to return us in excess of £500,000 profit.
Because of an inaccurate HBOS valuation in April 2006 I now realise my life was, and always has been, on a crash course for financial destruction from the day we accepted HBOS’s re-mortgage offer. Furthermore, I am nothing short of devastated to find, if the two litigation lawyers I consulted this morning are to be believed, there is nothing the law can do to make HBOS accountable for the impact these huge losses have had on my future let alone encourage them to write off a £217,000 mortgage shortfall they created when they refused to allow me to meet out interest payment by letting my property while my husband found another job.
In the words of Martin Luther King, “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal” and it appears that from what I have learnt today, our feral bankers are not only set to enjoy an untouchable status when it comes to regulation and reform but are also set to continue, like Hitler, to profit from the benefit of a legal carte blanche as well.