Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

10:25 AM, 3rd March 2014, About 8 years ago

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UPDATE – 31st March 2014

Since publishing this article our campaign has raised over £450,000 and legal action has now commenced. The official closing date for borrowers to be represented in this action was 28th March 2014. However, it may still be possible to be included in the representative action by paying additional fees to cover administration and Court fees to be added to the list of represented claimants. For further details please Contact Carla Morris-Papps at Cotswold Barristers – telephone 01242 639 454 or email carla@cotswoldbarristers.co.uk

West Brom Tracker Mortgages

Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

Property118 Members vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

Borrowers representing 84 mortgage accounts affected by the West Bromwich Mortgage Company 1.9% rake hike to their tracker rate mortgage margins attended a secret meeting of paid up campaign members on 27th February 2014. At that meeting it was confirmed that 420 affected mortgages are currently represented by the campaign group.

Property118 had previously created a secure forum for paid up members of the group to discuss various legal strategies, one of which was a proposal to West Brom to consider arbitration as an alternative to Court action. Each member had paid £240 for each affected mortgage plus a contribution to a campaign marketing campaign.

Arbitration was proposed for tactical legal reasons which were explained by the groups advisers, some details of which must remain confidential for legal reasons.

This would have been significantly quicker and cheaper for all concerned and had massive upsides to West Brom in that the outcome would be confidential. In other words, if West Brom had lost the case, nobody would have “officially” known about it other than those who had already paid to be a member of the campaign group. This would have meant the worst case scenario for West Brom would be losing no more than 10% of their reported £19 million of additional annual profits from this rate hike.

West Brom refused!

This refusal now plays very nicely into our hands for litigation purposes as it will be frowned upon by the Courts, especially if we lose our case and end up having to pay costs associated with the David and Goliath battle. 😉

The attendees of the meeting voted unanimously to proceed immediately with litigation on the basis proposed by (Mark Smith – Barrister-At-Law) as explained below. Thanks were offered to Justin Selig and his team at The Law Department for his sterling work to date in helping us get to this position. Without their help our campaign may never have got this far.

Litigation will commence during the week of 31st March 2014 with the service of Court Papers. This provides a final opportunity for any remaining affected borrowers to commit to the action by Friday 28th March.

We already have more than double the necessary funds on account to pay our own legal team. Mark Smith has agreed to represent borrowers for a fixed fee of £120 + VAT per affected mortgage subject to there being at least 250 borrowers committed. Further details in his Terms of Business and Instruction letter which can be downloaded by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

Existing campaign members are also reminded that they MUST complete and return the instruction form  to Mark Smith to act for them and the required additional funds by 28th March 2014.

The deadline for submission of instructions has now expired, sorry.

Costs Funding

The primary concern of existing members that had to be overcome was their potentially unlimited liability to the West Brom’s legal costs in the event of losing the case and the “open cheque book” often associated with legal cases. It was agreed that all fears could be overcome by creating a fund to be held in a BARCO escrow account (BARCO is the Bar Council – the regulators of Barristers). This account will provide evidence to the Courts that we have sufficient funds on account to settle the other sides costs in the event of losing the case and having an adverse costs order awarded against the group.

The first step of the legal action will be a costs hearing, as part of a “Case Management Conference”. This is where both sides must submit their costs budgets for the case to the judge and where the judge decides upon reasonableness. If either side fails to do this then the maximum they can claim for costs against the other side is the Court fee, i.e. £175! It is extremely rare for judges to award costs in excess of the agreed costs budget.

Our estimate is that based on the number of affected mortgages being represented, and the possibility of more people now wishing to be represented at this stage, the BARCO account could contain as much as double the other sides costs budget. This is why we are so confident about costs not exceeding the amount of funds that will be held in escrow. In the extremely unlikely event of the groups funds being insufficient to meet a potential costs order the group would have an opportunity to withdraw their case and settle the other sides costs to date.

If/when we win, the contents of the BARCO account will be rolled over to deal with all of the costs associated with the inevitable appeal case and if/when that is won the funds will be returned to members. If we lose, the contents of the escrow account will be used to pay costs awarded to West Brom and the balance of funds will be returned pro-rata to members.

The case will be fought on the basis of a representative action. This means that the ruling of the Courts will only apply to those borrowers who have paid to be represented in the case. There will be no free rides!

We fully appreciate that some affected borrowers will not be able to raise the necessary funds in time to be part of this action so there is a Plan B. Affected borrowers who are not represented may have another opportunity to make claims in a few years time. In the meantime they will continue to pay the higher rate and will probably be expected to forfeit any refund of overpayments in return for a no-win-no-fee arrangement. This could be a far more expensive option, hence the reason why so many affected borrowers are so keen to be part of the imminent legal action.

The legal strategy and process we are undertaking will be a very simple one. There will be no witnesses called so there will be no surprise twists such as those often seen on TV where a new witness or new evidence appears at the last minute. On this basis, we anticipate the case, including any appeal, to be concluded before Christmas.

We will only be asking the Courts to rule on two things:-

1) Based on the documentation produced by West Brom, do they have the right to increase the tracker margin?

2) Based on the documentation produced by West Brom, do they have the right to call in loans within 28 days without the borrower being in default?

There has been lots of discussion about whether West Brom did or did not provide all of the documentation they are now relying upon. This is not relevant to our case.

There has also been much discussion about Unfair Terms in Consumer Contract Regulations; again this is not relevant to our case.

It has been questioned whether in fact the mortgages issued by West Brom were indeed trackers, this cannot be denied by West Brom as this is the basis they report them to the rating standards agencies – see this link

The agreed level of funds to be deposited into the BARCO account is £1,144 per affected mortgage being represented. For example, somebody wishing to have 10 affected mortgages represented will need to deposit a further £11,440 into the BARCO account. Existing members will receive a refund of unused funds which they paid into the client account of The Law Department. New members will need to pay an additional premium of £356 per mortgage to the Property118 marketing fund to equalise the financial contributions and efforts of the forerunners of the group.

Therefore, the net payment per affected mortgage for members will be:

  • For existing members who have already instructed The Law Department £994 (assuming a refund of £150 per affected mortgage from The Law Department)
  • For new members the total cost per mortgage to be represented will be £1,500

We have created a simple set of instructions explaining how much you need to pay and who you need to pay it to here >>> http://www.property118.com/simplified-payment-instructions-join-west-brom-action/

Remember, if/when we win you will get more than this amount back when you also factor in 100% of the extra 1.9% interest you have been paying which will also be refunded. The worst case scenario is that you will get none of this money back if we lose. If you can live with that you should proceed.

The reason we have chosen this strategy as opposed to buying ATE insurance is that it costs us much less if we win. We are in this to win this. The above strategy means that we all know what we stand to lose and can proceed with our eyes wide open, confident that our liabilities are limited.

If the balance of the BARCO account associated with this action is less than £250,000 by close of business on Friday 28th March 2014 the legal action case will be aborted, funds will be returned to members within 14 days and that will be the end of the line for this campaign for myself and Property118 – at least for 12 months or more anyway. If necessary we will then take another look at Plan B.

UPDATE – 31st March 2014

Since publishing this article our campaign has raised over £450,000 and legal action has now commenced. The official closing date for borrowers to be represented in this action was 28th March 2014. However, it may still be possible to be included in the representative action by paying additional fees to cover administration and Court fees to be added to the list of represented claimants. For further details please Contact Carla Morris-Papps at Cotswold Barristers – telephone 01242 639 454 or email carla@cotswoldbarristers.co.uk



Comments

Dean

23:38 PM, 21st March 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Ed Atkinson" at "21/03/2014 - 22:45":

Ed. Think you might have missed Ian on 352.

chrisbusy

7:01 AM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Put me down for 345.
Whats the prize ..Not a fair and clear to understand lifetime TRACKER mortgage product by any chance ? ! ! !

Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118 View Profile

7:40 AM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

We did it 🙂

CONGRATULATIONS

Onslow Clough

7:56 AM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Excellent work Mark, You've achieved everything you set out to achieve. Now, relax and enjoy your holiday.... that's an order

Auntie P .

11:40 AM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Marshall " at "21/03/2014 - 21:15":

“WELL DONE” to everyone for having reached the target with a week to spare! I've been very silent on the forum but have followed ALL the comments to date. I am the type of person who stands up for what I believe in but know the West Brom is too big an organisation for any one person to take on single-handed. I haven’t been sitting on the fence but simply gathering funds together. I have been lobbying my MP but am still waiting grrh! I have systematically pestered the FOS to no avail. I have liaised with my Mortgage Adviser who basically just acknowledges that WB have ‘annoyed a lot of people’ (understatement of the year!) and offered no further support.
I applaud all the work and effort put in by the two Marks, Justin and several other high profile members on the forum. I would like to extend a very big thank you to all those people who have made this possible.
My husband and I are most definitely in with our one mortgage. I have just transferred the funds and our paperwork is on its way to Cotswold Barristers. We’re convinced we’re going to win our day in court, but even if we don’t we’d rather lose the money knowing we have tried our best than roll over and do nothing at the mercy of bullies like West Bromwich !!

Scotty Lifetracker

12:08 PM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Feeling empowered !, Finally sent cheque for 3 mortgages and paperwork by recorded delivery yesterday. Sorry for delay but have been busy sorting out finance. Sure others must be in a similar position and anticipate lots more to come next week. Going for 335 !!!

Thanks to Mark and all the team.

Auntie P .

12:16 PM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Put me down for 362 !!

Nicholas Barksby

12:29 PM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Great teamwork put me down for 368

nigel grunberg

13:27 PM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

500

Stephen King

13:36 PM, 22nd March 2014, About 8 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Nicholas Barksby" at "22/03/2014 - 12:29":

Property118 vs West Bromwich Mortgage Company

How do I break the news as a newcomer to the site, without seeming arrogant, being labelled a scare monger, conspiracy theorist, etc?

The answer to your dilemma lies in the first line.

Without scouting through 45 pages of posts, I can almost guarantee that there is no mention of an SPV?

It is not WBMC you need to be addressing, it is the SPV behind them that sets the interest rates on the Notes. WBMC are merely the front for the SPV and, in my humble opinion and with the utmost respect, in 99.99% of cases, will have absolutely nothing to do with setting any interest rate.

Your mortgages have been securitised, the evidence of this will be the simple fact that the deed was not dated by any mortgagor when they were signed by your good selves, at your solicitors (who acts for the Bank, not you) enabling, through the registration gap, the alleged lender to sell the MBS to the SPV. The SPV will claim equitable title, and WBMC will claim legal title, a true sale cannot have therefore occurred. The deceit lies in the Land Registry entries, the SPV will hide behind the front of WBMC, an entity itself that never made a Loan to any of you, it merely made an offer of advance.

This will seem Orwellian to most of the innocent victims on this thread. It did to me 4 years ago when I discovered what was really going on.

There will be no remedy in Court. The Court system is a Bank, a place of Commerce.

The most succinct public document to aid you was written by Carmel Butler:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmselect/cmtreasy/144/144w273.htm

This document will help those of you who are innocently in the dark, to see the light of what is really going on.

Examples of SPV's would be Granite in the case of Northern Rock, Kildare Securities in the case of Bank of Ireland etc.

WBMC are not the note holders, they do not set interest rates. Am sorry to post this, and in my humble opinion, if you are contesting the Interest Rates you are paying, this is a blind alley.

You have all granted WBMC power of attorney, this is how they deceived you all into allowing them to sell your mortgage notes. Your individual solicitors will never tell you this or highlight it to you when you sign the void deeds, and they are void. Ask yourselves this, you all signed a document agreeing to "borrow" x amounts of pounds, and you left the date blank where there was a pencil cross, added by your solicitor, who instructed you not to date the documents.

I apologise if this post appears to drown the fire, but if it at least makes some of you ask the questions of your legal team (who are court officers with an oath to the court, over and above your interests), then all is worth it.

I have been in the thick of it for 6 years uncovering this exact form of behaviour by Banks.

Any help I can offer, will be gladly provided. If any of you would like sight of an SPV prospectus, showing how this process works, the Bank being the front of the illusion, then feel free to drop me a line.

SK

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