Friday, 19 October 2012

Guilt and Weakness

German born theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein, once said, “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex and more violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot more courage, to move in the opposite direction” however when it comes to regulating our errant bankers or taking them to task for their crimes, it appears genius and courage are not to be called on. I am certain it is because of this that my dealings with the Financial Ombudsman Service continue to make little progress.

Following a full review of my file, a process which took a further three weeks, I am now told,

·        The FOS do not accept they are guilty of giving an unresponsive HBOS countless opportunities to discard my case on jurisdiction grounds whilst simultaneously hounding me for instant replies in order to be “fair to the business”.
·        The FOS do not accept they are guilty of unnecessarily asking me to collate my case in detail, despite declining it on grounds of jurisdiction after weeks of preparatory work, nineteen months later
·        The FOS do not accept they are guilty of favouring HBOS despite a period of nine months with no progress from the time I lodged my over-valuation complaint

However, in complete contrast to the tone of the majority of their letter I am also told,

·        The FOS sincerely apologise for their lack of diligence with regard to securing an HBOS response to my over valuation complaint. 

Mildly encouraged by this minor step forward yet resigned to the inevitability of endless waiting, I can only conclude the FOS's lack of impetus in this instance is not merely oversight due to unprecedented levels of complaints but is instead an endemic reluctance to tackle the UK's bankers and an clear indication of their discomfort at the prospect of unearthing another bankster miss-selling (or rather sub-prime overselling) scandal.  For this reason it is no surprise to hear,

With mounting evidence to suggest economic reform, financial regulation and banking prosecutions will amount to nothing more substantial than an after dinner speech, it seems the new chairman of the British Bankers Association, Sir Nigel Wicks, is correct in saying “we must all take personal responsibility for the restoration of trust in banking”. His words could not ring truer now that it is abundantly clear the restoration of trust in our bankers is to have nothing to do with the genius of our regulators and has even less to do with the courage of our Financial Ombudsman Service.

Albert Einstein also said, “Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character” and I suspect this is precisely what errant bankers are counting on to escape prosecution for their crimes. I hasten to add weakness of attitude and weakness of character is not what the Halifax Bank of Scotland or the Financial Ombudsman Service can expect to encounter in their dealings with me.

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