One bank that continues to have a serious ethical problem – though arguably they all do – is Northern Rock, the first financial failure to be bailed out with lots of our money.
Readers of Charity Matters, the Daily Telegraph and other top publications will know that caring Northern Rock has set up a separate company with some of its staff, Keilder Property Management Ltd, to profit from the misery of the customers to whom Northern Rock had enthusiastically lent impudently large sums to buy houses only to equally enthusiastically repossess them when the payments were not kept up. (Issue 10, MORE GRUBBING AT NORTHERN ROCK).
Readers will also have seen reports in the press quoting the findings of charity Credit Action which are that Northern Rock are twice as likely to repossess the homes of people defaulting on mortgage payments than any other lender and accounted for 4,000 of the 19,000 homes, more than 20%, repossessed in the first half of this year. According to Credit Action Northern Rock “seem to be moving for repossession quite quickly” and are being “quite aggressive in terms of their use of the courts”.
For the cynics the reason may not be too hard to find since a check at Companies House reveals that the company secretary of Keilder Property Management Ltd, the new firm benefiting from all the aggressive use of the courts is solicitor Colin Tom Greener, the head of Northern Rocks aggressive legal department aggressively using the courts.
Greener, 45 from Gateshead, is also the secretary of 11 other existing Northern Rock companies, a secretary and director of three others, a director of one other and director/secretary of half a dozen others that have been dissolved. Companies House records show that for another firm, North of England Estate Agents Ltd of which Greener is the secretary, one of his other two directors is a Colina Tom Greener, also coincidentally a solicitor born on the same date, and living at the same address, and assumed to be a twin sister with a rather masculine name. The Law Society website advises that Greener is a specialist in charity law.
Meanwhile according to another top publication Private Eye Northern Rock are putting the money made from repossessions to good use in planning a London-based Christmas party for 50 of their Newcastle staff, paying for travel, accommodation and meals, and a week long London-based stay, with golf, for 10 directors.
Earlier this year (April) Ron Sandler, Northern Rock’s new executive chairman told the Independent on Sunday that the increase in repossessions was “in line with our policy of rapid movement towards recovery” a pathetic justification, even for a banker.
Northern Rock are a failed and nationalised member of the British Bankers Association.