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Royal Barstewards of Satan...

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In 2001 I went to the whores of Satan, RBS, for a business loan. My parents stood their house as security for the loan. RBS eagerly supplied me bank accounts, loan, overdraft, credit card and so on. So. Five years later RBS notice my turnover falling, as the economy begins to suffer, and starts throwing a strop. As they are currently also doing to friends of mine, they pull the plug. They shut down bank accounts, cancel credit cards, and plunge my business into freefall, unable to buy stock, unable to operate. Forced to deal in cash I discuss the matter with one of their robots and I tell them to keep taking my business loan (which had never defaulted) payment out of the account by standing order, which I will pay into the account every month faithfully. And I did. And heard nothing from them for four months.

 

Then I got the letter, that they were demanding all the money, not from me, from my parents. They wanted to execute the security on the house. So I rang them, in the midst of my nervous breakdown. And I spoke to a very helpful young woman at RBS/NatWest recovery who told me that the bank had not been taking the loan payments and used it as a default against me. She also said it was VERY unusual for the bank to send such a large account to recovery so quickly, that usually it was triggered by much longer, more serious defaults. But, she said, it was to my advantage that the loan had gone to recovery, because it meant that the loan agreement was torn up and I could have a repayment arrangement with the recovery department and that this was better, because the amount being demanded was the full amount calculated for the term of the loan with interest, and thus further interest would be frozen as long as I made my payments, and she negotiated a lower repayment.

 

And thus, after a comedy of RBS administrative errors, I started to pay the recovery sum, five years into my ten year loan.

 

Over a year passed, and then RBS got stroppy again, and notified my parents that they were in default again. See, the £270 per month being paid back was less than the £300+ per month that they were adding on in interest... yeah... that's what we thought too.

 

So that's when the **** hit the fan. We raised the repayment amount to just above their 'minimum' and took the matter to the FOS. RBS's attitude was 'take it to the FOS then... they'll find in our favour and you'll be wasting your time.'

 

RBS denied for two years that the lady I spoke to at NatWest even existed. They denied that her department dealt with the matter. Then finally the paperwork proved them liars, so they admitted it but denied that she'd entered an arrangement with me, and couldn't explain how I knew so much about their internal procedures and the processes, or how I'd managed to write letters to them in response to her comments, or had started paying sums of money off my own back when, according to them, I was trying to do a bunk on paying them. After these abject denials, and being called a liar, the contact with the agent in question was admitted but we were told she was no longer in that department and could not speak to us. We insisted. Eventually we were told that no transcripts exist for the gravitous conversation that we had, only her notes on the system. We asked to see the notes. We were told we couldn't. We asked to speak to the lady in question, and were told we couldn't. We insisted. We were told that the notes on the system make no mention of any arrangement at all, and that the bank had spoken to the lady in question and she couldn't remember anything special about dealing with me. We have been repeatedly told that the bank consolidating all outstanding debts, claiming the balance in full, passing it to recovery and recovery freezing interest in order to secure full payment over terms is not a particularly unusual occurrance, and the bank agreed that the lady in question had a remit to do so, they just argue that she ddn't do so (and thus that I am a liar).

 

Immediately prior to the FSA case commencing, we were put in touch with a resolution manager for RBS, a Mr Whitaker. He also spoke quite sympathetically and authoritatively, said that 'resolutions' was what he did. He opened the discussion on how much we could raise to make a settlement with the bank, who were claiming £21k outstanding.

 

Now, bear in mind that this £21k was discussed over two years ago. In that time I've personally paid RBS £3720 per year, for a minimum of £7440 payment between then and now. Prior to that I paid them monthly for at least five years, totalling more than £21k in spite of a difficulties, and every penny was paid in a timely manner. The loan agreement was for £30k over 10 years and it was my understanding that after 10 years, including their interest, £47k would have been repaid. After the account was shut down and defaulted by the stroppy little 'relationship manager' at RBS I paid around another £6.5k over two years before ever we got to discussing resolutions and FSA cases. All told, then, RBS had more than £21k plus £6.5k up to two years ago (and considering that the loan was taken out in 2001, that means that the loan term at the time of the defaulting by RBS was just five years, plus two years to the discussion of a settlement, meaning that RBS were demanding £21k on top of the more than £27k they had already received (£48k total) with at least three years left to run on the original loan term.

 

So... if you're still following... the 'resolution' expert discussed this issue with my dad. Once the loan was defaulted RBS moved like lightening to wash their hands of me, and to go straight after the security in my parents house... they've not been interested in talking about financial resolutions, they have at all stages suggested mortgages, and threatened to go to court to have the charge on the house executed etc. They have a one track mind and an almost vampiric thirst to drink the blood out of my parents property. It is, actually, almost embarrassingly undignified to watch them so voraciously stalk two retired pensioners who are living on state pension, as my parents are now. RBS won't even talk to me. They have no 'issues' with me, they say. Their issues are with my parents over the security on the loan.

 

So the resolution expert hears my dad very articulately explain his moral and economic issues with the figures as they stand at the time, and the amount RBS stands to make over a default that they themselves created and virtual money that they have charged as a result. And funnily enough, the resolution manager kind of agrees, and functions as a sympathetic android. He even goes as far as to suggest that we could come to a settlement, and that he might think it appropriate to go to the senior decision makers and propose that we would raise £16k if they wrote off the rest of the £21k they claim. We agree in principle. Two days later he calls us back, sounding like a changed man, and very solemnly tells us that the senior people will only settle for about a £500 discount and 'won't charge interest this month' as a bonus. He advises us that this is the final word on the issue and he is no longer at liberty to discuss resolving the matter with us if we turn down their demand.

 

We advise that we're going to the OFT, and he more or less says 'go ahead... they'll find in our favour' which at the time we believe (naively) is preposterously arrogant and a chance worth taking.

 

So, anyway, after two years, round upon round of escalation and fact gathering, discussion and decision, followed by appeal and further escalation, we've finally had the Ombudsman's findings and been told not to come back again. They state, in writing, that my account is compelling, and that the notes held by RBS don't say that their agent DID make an arrangement with me, but they don't say that she didn't either, and that there is room for interpretation, but that the FOS are bound to accept the bank's account of what their 'normal practice' looks like.

 

I suppose the moral of the story is to get everything in writing and leave nothing to phone conversations. This is where the banks screw you... they conveniently disregard the notes on the system, or actively encourage their staff not to make anything specific in their notes unless it is in the bank's favour.

 

At the finale of the Ombudsman report, the FOS admonished RBS to deal with us fairly, generously, and sympathetically.

 

Within two days we had a letter, not from RBS but from their solicitors advising us that they were pursuing a court hearing for the execution of the charge on the house.

 

So we spoke to the FOS again, who confirmed that this action was not in the spirit of fair and sympathetic dealing, and would be speaking to RBS about it.

 

RBS responded by having their solicitors confirm that they had instructed the court to proceed with a court hearing to execute the charge on the house.

 

So we spoke to the FOS again, and again they stated that this was not how the bank were instructed to respond and that they would speak to RBS again.

 

RBS responded by writing to us to tell us they felt justified in instructing their solicitors and that we could wait for the court hearing date. They are now claiming £18.5k. You do the math... they were claiming £21k two years ago, I've paid more than £7.5k since then, and the debt has gone down £3k in two years, and there's still a year left to run on the original loan term. (That will mean that they've had more than £27.5k plus more than £7.5k since the FOS action was initiated (in excess of £35k) plus they still want another £18.5k which means that they're demanding, a year ahead of the full loan term, not only the full £47k that they signed me up to over the 10 year term, but also we estimate an extra £10k all said and done, and a year ahead of schedule). Oh... and they're still charging interest.

 

The FOS once again stated that it was 'unusual' for a period of due process to not be engaged to discuss solutions, and claimed to have instructed RBS to pursue such a course.

 

Then the court hearing papers arrived.

 

So my dad made another attempt to contact RBS, and by this time he's furious and indignant.

 

And just as I did once upon a time, he gets a sympathetic lady whose sole purpose at RBS is to help settle disputes. And she discusses, and she asks what we can pay, and he explains he is a pensioner and doesn't have much except his own home, bought and paid for and hard-earned, and he offers £12k. She jokes with him a while about how on earth pensioners can squeeze more money than that out of their coffers, and how even his former mortgage company won't even give him a mortgage or loan on the house to pay RBS off, because he's retired and sans income. And she very optimistically states that she'll send a report to her bosses and propose the £12k, and anticipating a resolution she cancels the court action and instructs the RBS solicitors to stand down.

 

Ten days pass, and my dad just got a letter to say that £12k isn't good enough, RBS want £18.5k and they've added another £140 or thereabouts for the interest accrued while all the discussion has been going on.

 

Have you ever come across a more mercenary, soulless bunch of rat-bastards?

 

And the FOS have basically said the same as they've said to others... they don't devise figures, the bank tell them what figures are reasonable and what they're prepared to accept, and then thats the final word.

 

The FOS are a token trophy of so-called consumer protection, but the reality is that they are the 'agency' which masquerades as the democratic response to banking, while in actual fact they just give the banks the right to do what they want, how they want.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions on what we do next?

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