Friday, 29 June 2012
The latest issues regarding certain banks rigging the Libor rate should not come as a shock to most people particularly in view of previous wrong-doing that has shaken our trust in the banking institutions.
I know from personal experience of the type of things they get up to. At the time of my divorce from my first wife during the 1980s, amidst the turmoil that usually accompanies a marriage breakup there was however just one thing my ex-wife and myself did agree about.
At that time I had an unsecured overdraft for my business account with Barclays that, as far as I was concerned had never been an issue either for the bank or myself. Suddenly, out of the blue I received a High Court writ from the bank demanding immediate repayment of the overdraft. There had been no previous discussion, no letter from the bank - just this unannounced writ. I telephoned Barclays London office to demand a reason for what I considered to be grossly underhanded tactics and was merely told that they wanted their money back. I won't repeat my reaction but let's just say I was more than a little angry by their attitude and their proposed court action.
Subsequently my former wife and me were called to a meeting with a business manager at our local Barclays business centre whereupon we were pressured in an attempt to force us to agree to a second charge being placed on our matrimonial home. My ex-wife and I both refused to sign the charge papers that Barclays had already prepared because neither of deemed it necessary and, as it was, the overdraft was not for an overly large sum. However, under duress I agreed to convert this to a loan on a normal monthly repayment basis.
When it came to selling the matrimonial home following our divorce, we were confronted with a second charge on the property in favour of Barclays Bank. We both knew full well that we had never signed the second charge documents that Barclays had produced and advised our respective solicitors accordingly. My solicitor immediately wrote to Barclays with an allegation of fraud. This is exactly what it was because my former wife concurred with me that the signatures that appeared on the Barclays document were certainly not ours but had been copied from other documents by somebody in an attempt to make them look like ours. They weren't even very convincing forgeries!
When Barclays received the communication from my lawyers they responded by telephoning me. I was told by the caller, who refused to give his name, that he was speaking from the bank's head office. I was told in no uncertain terms that if I refused to withdraw the fraud allegation 'I would never work again'. I responded by asking whether I should take this threat as an indication that 'some personal harm would be done to me, or whether they intended somehow to put me out of business?' The man responded by stating 'That will be for you to find out, if you refuse to withdraw your allegation'. I was left feeling totally stunned and from that day on I have never trusted the banks.