Big banks resume pressure for foreclosures following pandemic – The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (en-GB)

In an indescribable courtroom on the fifth floor of the glass-fronted Manchester Civil Justice Center, Angela * ‘s voice quivered as she addressed the judge. She tried to explain how she had always been employed until Covid-19 hit and her job dried up. She had just gone through a custody battle with her ex-partner and her sanity was suffering, she explained.

His last mortgage payment was in March 2020, and at the end of August this year his bank, TSB, filed a complaint with the courts. She was in arrears of £ 8,400 at the time. By the time the case went to court, Angela had started receiving universal credit and had managed to secure a £ 4,000 loan from her father. Her lawyer explained to the judge that she was also willing to bring a tenant into her spare bedroom and said “it is hoped that her situation will change” in the coming weeks.

But the judge seemed unmoved, saying no proposal had been made to clear the arrears. He granted a possession order. Outside, Angela was crying.

Great players

In addition to attending these cases in person, the Office has compiled the public details of more than 2,500 hearings in 10 of the busiest county courts in England and Wales. More than one in 10 was a mortgage file.

Lloyds Banking Group (which is made up of several brands including Lloyds, Bank of Scotland and Halifax) accounted for 38% of all mortgage hearings listed by these courts, meaning the group appeared to be responsible for nearly twice as many cases as its share of the mortgage market would suggest. The vast majority of these cases came from the Bank of Scotland; it accounted for 30% of all possession cases the Bureau recorded that were initiated by a mortgage provider.

Similar proportions of cases brought by these banks were recorded by Bureau reporters during hearings attended in person. In court, we recorded that Covid-19 was mentioned explicitly in a quarter of Bank of Scotland cases. In a case that has been adjourned, the defendant lost his job during the pandemic and fell into mortgage arrears. In another coronavirus-related case, a stay of possession order was issued against a defendant who had previously always paid on time.

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About Christopher Easley

Christopher Easley

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