HFC Bank Limited originated in USA where it is know as Household Finance Corporation. It specialises in sub-prime lending. In 2003 the bank was bought by HSBC and at about the same time purchased the store account business of the John Lewis Partnership. The bank has also handled store accounts for Dixons, Currys, B&Q, PC World, Furniture Village and offers credit from Beneficial Finance, HFC Bank, GM Card, Marbles and Hamilton Direct Bank.

I had acted for John Lewis for about 20 years, dealing with their debt recovery and I headed up a team of four people in London, being employed by a nationwide firm of solicitors. John Lewis had always dealt with their customers ethically and fairly.

The ex-chairman of HSBC Stephen Green, now Minister of State for Trade in the current government, said this: “With the benefit of hindsight, this is an acquisition we wish we had not undertaken” referring to HSBC’s $15Bn acquisition of the sub-prime lender Household International in 2003. In 2008 HFC was fined £1.08m by the FSA for mis-selling payment protection insurance.