Truth for justice

by Simon Hawkins in Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom

Truth for justice
We did it
On 10th January 2022 we successfully raised £1,520 with 17 supporters in 56 days

Victims of injustice & misconduct at hands of Lloyds Bank. We fight to correct huge power imbalance it enjoys with an independent review.

by Simon Hawkins in Winchester, Hampshire, United Kingdom

THE TRUTH MUST OUT IN ORDER FOR JUSTICE TO BE SERVED

I am Simon Hawkins. For over 14 years, my wife, Penny Ericson and I, have been the victims of misconduct and injustice and just plain appalling behaviour at the hands of the UK’s largest bank, Lloyds (LBG). 

We are reaching out as we fight to correct the massive power imbalance enjoyed by UK banks due to the failures of the UK financial regulatory and legal systems.

The banks fund, among others, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the key financial regulator – although the FCA claims to be independent. 

When the FCA declares the banks have broken their regulations and, in many cases the law, the system still allows them to act as their own ‘judge and jury’ against their victims. Rarely does anyone ever take the utterances of the FCA seriously. There is almost no real ability for people like us to get what we can call justice. There is no ‘rule of law’ or maybe it’s better to say those who run the banks think they are above the law.

For example, the banks apparently decide which cases qualify for the new (and already hugely discredited) review forum, the ‘Business Banking Resolution Service’ (BBRS). Decisions which, in the case of Lloyds, are apparently made by a heavily conflicted former IRHP Salesman.  

Nearly every day the media features the failures of the regulator and the banks to do the right thing. Add to this the persistent passivity of HM Treasury and the Government which refuse to act to protect many thousands of people whose lives have been destroyed. 

Meanwhile bank bosses line their pockets as the banks go on to make huge profits. This month Lloyds announced a profit of £2 billion for the third quarter of 2021. 

For our case, and others like us, the only way, (after more than 10 years of banging our heads against a wall), is to break this near unlimited power imbalance – of money, time and resources, by obtaining a proper and fully independent review of our case by a qualified financial expert, willing to act with complete integrity and so start to level the playing field.

It’s been said that the banks are just waiting for people to die, then they won’t need to make pay-outs. Sadly, some already have, some even by their own hands.

Please help support our David v Goliath epic fight by helping to fund an independent review which can finally create the much-needed level playing field for my case.1636797794_level-playing_field_.jpg

Background

Why I need help to take on Lloyds, the bank that made another £2BN third quarter profit and stole my entire life’s work, my future and so much more.

In 2008, I owned a portfolio of 48 properties, and with my deep experience of the property market and property law, had created a business model well suited to the difficult financial conditions at the time. It was one of the first ‘Air bnb’ style businesses in the UK. My customers could rent properties by the day, week, month or year. It was totally flexible, hugely popular and producing high returns. 

My properties were all fully furnished to 5* quality and in great demand. The majority of the funding was managed by the sales staff at HBOS Reading who handled most of my mortgages and property transactions, and with whom I’d built up a relationship of trust over time.

In 2008 however, that trust was irrevocably taken advantage of by the bank when I was told by my bank ‘relationship manager’ that their credit sanctioner required me to take out what was called an Interest Rate Hedging Product (IRHP) and if I refused, they would pull the plug on my funding overnight. 

I knew absolutely nothing about these products and stupidly placed my complete trust in the bank asking it to provide me with the very best advice for me in my particular circumstances. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was being deceived and coerced into taking out a totally unnecessary and unsuitable product solely so they could earn £120,000+.

Instead of protecting me they placed me in grave danger and when interest rates fell through the floor between October 2008 and February 2009, mine shot through the roof, increasing my borrowing costs by over £500,000 per year! 

I accused them of conning me and they just laughed. One Bank employee laughingly referred to me as, “the big swinger now paying trazillions per cent of interest.” I wasn’t laughing. I wasn’t a company director. I was a sole trader with no protection. The bank was able to help itself to my business and personal possessions, and most critically, my ability to protect my health.

Being a sole trader, I had legal rights to claim for the mis-sale. I didn’t know this at the time. The new owner of HBOS, LBG, kept it to themselves and placed me into their voluntary “IRHP Review Scheme” designed specifically for limited companies, for which they were ‘judge and jury’.

They closed their 'kangaroo court' in 2017 with my claim legally unresolved although they reported to the FCA otherwise.

In 2019 –11 years after the bank ruined me – and, following a review of the handling of my claim, the FCA informed me that it had not been reviewed correctly and that Lloyds’ behaviour “did not meet the standards expected of them”. 

Lloyds meanwhile promised to fully co-operate with ANY independent review of my claim in accordance with my legal rights under a particular piece of legislation, Section 138D of the Financial Services & Markets Act (FSMA 2000). 

I took my complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) which investigated and confirmed I did not meet their eligibility criteria and the FCA confirmed that I didn’t qualify for the new Business Banking Review Scheme – (BBRS failures are making current headlines). 

Left with no other option, I have found an industry expert who is independent and able to undertake what is to be the very first unbiased review of my case – 13 years on. Lloyds, despite its promise, has refused to join me in accepting this review. Clearly a fully independent review is not something they welcome nor ever intended to co-operate with!

My only option is to proceed regardless and meet the costs myself.

The bank relies on the fact that we don’t have the means to pursue this through the Courts. They have said as much. We would like to raise funds to cover the cost of this review. Our target is £50,000. If we raise any more or the review costs less, the money will be used to help others that need the same sort of help.

My request to you is to help me

  • Fund the only opportunity I have for a truly unbiased review of my claim since January 2008 until the present day.
  • Use the result of this investigation to end over 13 years of relentless, vindictive lies and abuse suffered at the hands of executives and senior management first of HBOS and then Lloyds. 
  • Provide a precedent that doesn’t exist within the regulatory system but is desperately needed by the remaining bank victims, to bring about reform to the laws/rules that either don’t exist or are impossible to implement to protect people like you and me.
  • Where, and however possible, share these lessons with other victims who are still doing everything they can to re-build their lives.

Anyone interested in more information and the actual details of the review, please email me at [email protected] for more information and I will be happy to respond.

Further Background

In 2008, UK banks were cash-strapped so targeted small businesses (SME’s), selling them financial hedging products that they did not need and could not possibly understand. The banks, on the other hand, knew exactly what they were doing. Thousands of small businesses and lives were damaged and destroyed. Much has been examined and reported about the IRHP scandal.

In 2012, the UK regulator, the FSA (now Financial Conduct Authority), told the banks to fix it and, quite incredibly, believed that they would give back voluntarily everything they had taken from the victims (a bit like expecting a mugger to give someone back their purse).

More than 13 years after the 2008 financial crash, there’s still nothing that protects us – the public – from the avaricious banks and their unethical advisers.  Of course, there are rules and laws –but have you ever tried enforcing them? The regulators won’t help because the banks are so very powerful.

Worse, the banks have paid over many hundreds of millions of more in legal and other fees defending the indefensible. They don’t care. For the banks – and often for some of their advisors, this is a war.

Many victims have either passed on, (some taking their own lives, others whilst fighting), or simply given up in despair but there are still a few of us fighting for what we know and can prove is right and true. The problem is the system gives us no realistic route to justice, but we will never give up and will fight until the end.

In our case, Lloyds has deliberately and recklessly caused real damage to Penny and me. This is just a brief overview, the full details are much, much worse. 

The time has come to reach out for help in our fight for justice against the UK’s largest bank. I am Simon Hawkins and I’m asking for a small amount of help from you.

Thank you

Simon Hawkins

15 November 2021

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