As members know, yesterday the APPG on Banking held a debate in Westminster to further the quest for better 'access to justice' or as Nick Gould says 'access to law.' In such a vast chamber it seemed as if the debate was not that well attended but that is wrong.
Twenty MPs from all over the Country attended and spoke – some of them in the fiercest terms about the unethical and even criminal conduct of some of our banks in their relationship with their SME customers. Words like “theft”, “pillage”, “scandalous” and even the word “Mafia” were used by MPs to describe bank conduct. These are words frequently used by the victims of bank abuse but until recently they were not so vehemently used by our elected representatives who are generally far more diplomatic than some of us.
If any top bankers were watching the debate I think they will have been shocked to realise the level of anger some MPs have on behalf of their constituents.
I'm not going to highlight all of the strong points made in the debate (there were so many) but at one point Calum McCaig MP said that while he was in the chamber, he had received a message from a constituent who has had dealings with RBS GRG and he said that “in the dealings his lawyer has had with RBS, the bank’s lawyers have said that these things are water off a duck’s back and that a bit of bad publicity now will not change how it operates.”
I'm not sure yesterday's debate will be “water off a ducks back” to the bankers (you'll note I'm saying bankers not banks because it is individual people working for banks that cause so much grief and misery). I think that unless we are dealing exclusively with psychopaths and sociopaths, some senior bankers may have to start recognising now that the elected representatives of the people are determined to stop bankers 'pillaging' SMEs.
“Pillaging” was a word used by Michelle Thomson MP when she asked “When did we sign up to this? When did we sign up to a taxpayer-owned bank pillaging the assets of our SMEs—the so called life blood of our economy—or creating a system where victory emails are sent when another department of the same bank asset-strips?” This was endorsed by Steve Baker MP who said “In this House we often hear strident language. The hon. Lady used the word “pillage”. I entirely agree that it is wholly appropriate to describe some of that behaviour as a pillage of those companies, and I hope the Minister will bear that in mind.”
Over the last nine plus years I've been involved in investigating bank abuse, yesterdays debate was without doubt the most positive example I've seen of democracy at work and I would encourage everyone to read the full transcript of the debate:
Or watch it here – starting at 13.03pm:
Although the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Simon Kirby, did not “give way” to the MPs present, he has, as the APPG have confirmed, left the door open and this will go to the next stage George Kerevan has asked for:
“......The next stage is to have an inquiry, which will be conducted jointly by the APPGs on fair business banking and on alternative dispute resolution, in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and with the support of the Federation of Small Businesses. I hope that the Minister, if he nods his head violently enough, will give evidence at that inquiry.”
To which Simon Kirby said “I would be delighted.”
So the door is open and I know I speak for all SME Alliance members when I say we will be happy to supply information, evidence and research for a future inquiry.
We would like to thank: George Kerevan MP, Calum Kerr MP, Norman Lamb MP, Patrick Grady MP, Stephen Gethins MP, Mike Weir Mp, John Howell MP, Richard Arkless MP, david Hanson MP, Steve Banker MP, Philip Boswell MP, Jonathan Edwards MP, Mark Williams MP, Anna Turley MP, Michelle Thomson MP, Kirsten Oswald MP, Callum McCaig MP, Hannah Bardell MP, Roger Mullin MP, Peter Dowd MP for supporting the debate, their constituents and the SME sector. As always we'd like to thank Heather Buchanan and her team.
Following on from our previous Press Release (3rd November 2016) SME Alliance is happy to confirm that The Parliamentary Debate on will be taking place tomorrow, 15th December 2016 at 11:30am in the Main Chambers. The debate is scheduled to last for 3 hours. We would continue to urge members to contact their MP’s and ask them to attend and show their support.
Again, we'd like to thank George Kerevan MP, Calum Kerr MP and their team for tabling the motion as well as the many MPs who supported it. We'd also like to thank Heather Buchanan and her team who have worked hard to make this happen. And, of course, our own members who have actively canvassed support from their MP.
For further info: e-mail email@example.com or contact Nikki on 07519 505276 or 01223 779690.
This is a blog from one of our members detailing her experiences over the past decade. Thank you very much to Rosie for sharing your story with us!
I write to you today with great hope that you can help me find and access media coverage for my personal story regarding one person’s journey from personal Bankruptcy in 2007, discharge in 2008, winding up Bankruptcy estate 2014, through to 2016 to win justice from the Trustees and Official Receiver for the sake of my bankruptcy creditors.
The link below shows the 2008 Daily Mail article on my personal bankruptcy.
MIDHURST WALK COMMERCIAL / RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY
Since personal bankruptcy in September 2007 and discharge in June 2008 I have consistently over the past 7 years to Aug 2014, put pressure on the Trustees and mortgage company to sell the last remaining property in my estate, namely Midhurst Walk in Midhurst. The property had £250,000 equity at the time of repossession in August 2006 with just £18K arrears owing.
The Trustees, LPA Receivers and Mortgage company did nothing to protect the equity for my creditors but instead chose to keep my bankruptcy file open (but take no action), for a further seven years allowing the mortgage company to take no responsibility or accountability to myself or my creditors. Instead they allowed them to add monthly arrears, charges and fees to my mortgage account for 8 years transforming the £18K arrears owing at repossession to £300K at completion of the sale, wiping out all the equity owed to me/my estate with no intervention from the Trustees who were put in place by the courts to act in my interest and the interest of my creditors.
The Trustees sold two of the three properties in my estate in 2007 and 2008 and as Midhurst Walk the Commercial/Residential property had in the region of £250K equity I consistently requested over the years for them to instigate the sale of the remaining property.
In desperation for their inaction I sort and obtained a barrister's opinion in 2010 which revealed that the mortgage company and Receivers were in fact in Breach of their Duty of Care to me, a customer, by holding onto the valuable property and not making any attempt to rent or sell for many years thus depriving my creditors of the equity. It was also suggested that I return to court to have the property assigned back to me because the Trustees were not acting in the interest of my estate.
Following this legal Opinion the Trustees offered me in 2010 to take action myself against the companies but I wasn't in the financial position to do so. With this in mind I started the journey in 2012/2013 requesting for my Bankruptcy case to be wound up and to re-vest the 'right of action' back to me to enable me to start the fight to win justice for my creditors.
WINDING UP MY BANKRUPTCY ESTATE
It was finally agreed in 2014 after constant years of pressure from me that my bankruptcy file would be finally closed in August 2014. This was done and because there was one remaining property to be sold the 'right of action', which I was expecting to be assigned to me was to remain with the Official Receiver as there was one property still remaining to be sold, namely Midhurst Walk.
THIS VERY SAME MONTH AUGUST 2014 THE TRUSTEES WOUND UP MY ESTATE AND HANDED BACK TO THE OFFICIAL RECEIVER –THE LAST REMAINING PROPERTY MIDHURST WALK AFTER 7 YEARS, WAS SOLD AT A LOSS. (The loss was due to the mortgage company adding monthly mortgage payments, arrears, charges and fees totalling £300K to the 18K owing at repossession in August 2006.) How co-incidental is that!! I now believe that my estate was managed by the Trustees in a way that determined that I would never realise the £250K equity for my creditors. The system appeared to be stacked against me.
In 2009 I had a prospective purchaser telephone me to ask about purchasing Midhurst Walk property as he had offered the full asking price for the property and was getting no-where with the agents acting for the sale. The agents were also confused he said as they couldn’t understand why his offer had been refused. I gave him the LPA Receivers in Bath contact details. He called me back a couple of weeks later to tell his story that the agents had notification from the LPA Receivers the mortgage company were not intending to sell the property but instead planning to use the planning permission I gained in early 2006 to refurbish and make into two different properties. He kindly put this experience in writing for me as future evidence. Following his confrontation with the LPA Receivers, Commercial First the mortgage company sent me a letter in 2009 informing me that the LPA Receivers had been removed from managing Midhurst Walk property.
I have since the winding up of my Bankruptcy in August 2014 and sale of Midhurst Walk in August 2014 continued my plight with the Official Receiver to have my bankruptcy case vested back to me to enable me to pursue the mortgage company and or Receivers on behalf of gaining justice for my creditors. The outcome was that the Official Receiver requested that I pay them £1020 for them to take legal advice from their solicitor/barrister on assigning the right of action to me.
OR Legal Opinion
The first solicitor they chose there was a conflict of interest and they had to find another solicitor. Although I paid the fees for them to take their legal advice, they requested to see my barrister's opinion of 2010 - which I sent after questioning that it was my legal privilege to withhold as I had paid for them to gain their own legal opinion and to remind them that I sent my opinion to the Trustees in 2010 in order to get them to act on behave of the creditors at that time, so they were already in possession of it.
Their legal opinion/advice came back claiming that any claim would now be 'Time Barred' ie: 6yrs limitation period. In view of this and my persistence they have now requested that I obtain another updated barrister's opinion to ascertain if any potential claim I pursue would or would not be time barred. I am currently speaking to my barrister to do this for me based on some new evidence I obtained in 2013 that gives any potential claim more credibility i.e.: Secret Commissions and the appeal case Atkins v Commercial First in 2013.
MY UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE
My journey since Midhurst Walk repossession in August 2006 and personal Bankruptcy in September 2007 (at retirement age) has been an unbelievable experience of complete despair but yet with personal hope and indefatigable persistence to win justice I have realised that going bankrupt was the easy part. I would never have believed that fighting for my creditors would be such hard work. I was naive enough to think that the Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Company, LPA Receiver, Trustees and Official Receiver would have some accountability and duty to me as well. But from my experience as a bankrupt individual that has not been the case to date and until I produce yet another Opinion for the Official Receiver who then may or may not agree after speaking to the potential defendants of any potential claim, to assign the 'right of action' back to me regardless of the extra costs I am continuing to incur. Where has justice gone in the UK for the victim.
For your information from other victims
2 x Posts found on an internet forum
I consider that Commercial First mortgage Limited is Money Laundering and misrepresenting the FCA through Commercial First Business Limited, a lender without capital, BY FUNDING UNREGULATED MORTGAGE THROUGH Commercial First Business Limited, which act as the lender BREACHING the FCA Rules allowing Commercial First Business Limited to hold the legal title and to repossess the mortgage property once the property has been prepossesses Commercial First Mortgage Limited instruct sale on their is behalf.
My advice to anyone is to obtain the SAR and look carefully at the underwriting sheets, if they do not send them demand them, most of their mortgages will have some sort of hidden commission present giving you all the opportunity to demand rescission of the mortgages, this means the mortgage contract is voidable and you go back to day 1 less anything you have paid and all fees and charges removed.
They will wriggle but it is very worth the fight
Rosie Hamilton McGinty
Mob: 07794 326 760
All our members are encouraged to contribute to the SME Alliance weekly blog.