My email to the new Treasury Select Committee about HSBC fraud

Dear Ms Morgan and committee

I am hoping with a new committee that the work of Jesse Norman and George Kerevan in this matter will not be overlooked and that a member will take up the baton. There have been four meetings when they have quizzed the FCA on progress.

I understand that you are meeting with the FCA on 31 October. Clearly there is a lot to discuss about the RBS report. However, I hope some time could be made to question them about this long ongoing fraud.

I original reported the fraud to the FSA in 2012. Only in January of this year has a small gesture been made where HSBC agreed with the FCA to “voluntarily” repay £4m of the illegal charges to 6,700 customers of HFC Bank and John Lewis Financial Services. And this was only made because I had written to the FCA and the Solicitors Regulation Authority pointing out that if accounts were credited back with the charges, as claimed by the SRA, then some customers will have been placed in credit. I asked for details of those repayments. The response to my email took 3 weeks. The FCA press release states that only “live” accounts were affected. I am still campaigning for redress on the closed accounts.

Following the announcement in January I had a meeting with the FCA in February when I presented my analysis of a database of county court judgments (139,000) which shows that in the period since HSBC purchased HFC in 2003, to 2009 in excess of £200m in illegal charges were added to defaulted accounts. In my calculation therefore, at least £80-100m in illegal charges should be repaid. These are not small amounts, some are as much as £5,000.

My continued requests for updates to the FCA are met with “we are continuing our investigations”. It has now been 5 years, the work required should not take more than one week. Following a previous complaint to the Complaints Commissioner, he released a very damning report of the FCA investigation to date and stated that it bordered on the farcical.

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Following that report the FCA apologised to me, stated it would reopen the investigation and then proceeded to recruit NEDs from HSBC and John Lewis.

I am about to make a further report to the Complaints Commissioner concerning the FCA’s continued reluctance to deal with this matter. Before doing so, I think it would be appropriate for the Committee to establish from the FCA what their position is, and whether there will ever be a proper adjudication in the matter.

I hope you will manage to find time to deal with this long outstanding injustice. I am making this email public.

Yours sincerely
Nicholas Wilson