Mystery action group has its designs on NHL

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The Independent Online
Advertisements have been placed in national and local newspapers asking borrowers who have a mortgage with National Home Loans to reply to a box number.

Action Against Banks then sends a letter which asks for money - 'whatever you can afford in excess of pounds 23' - to enable an action committee to purchase shares and take control of NHL.

There is no telephone number on the letter and no personal details of the signatory, C T Sullivan.

The Independent can now reveal that the man behind AAB is Colin Thomas Sullivan, of Chigwell, Essex. He describes himself as a developer.

The advertisements placed by Mr Sullivan and the letter signed by him are addressed to 'fellow mortgagees' and seek the support of borrowers. However, Mr Sullivan admits that he does not have a mortgage with NHL.

National Home Loans has had a troubled financial past and many borrowers are disgruntled at the high rates of interest charged on their mortgages.

Mr Sullivan says: 'My interest is to assist people and show them that these people can be fought properly and inside the law and brought to book.'

He claims to have spent pounds 70,000 of his own money placing advertisements, sending out letters, and on postage and stationery.

He says he has had thousands of replies to the advertisements.

Mr Sullivan says: 'People are not sending money yet.

'I am appointing a firm of lawyers to receive the money.'

He has said that the money will be returned if insufficient funds are raised to get a controlling interest in the company.

He also says he is sending a postcard to all those who have already replied to confirm that the money will not be held by him as stated previously, but by solicitors.

Mr Sullivan is a director of a string of companies including Right Price Books. His office address is at Harforde Court, John Tate Road, Hertford, Hertfordshire.

In his letter to NHL borrowers he claims he has had 'plenty of experience in challenging similar financial institutions' and he has been 'very successful'.

He repeated the claim in our telephone conversation but he was unwilling to give details of the organisations involved.

The current management of NHL, however, has had no contact with Mr Sullivan. A spokesman for NHL says: 'We have now passed our file to the police for them to consider whatever further steps, if any, may be appropriate.'

It is particularly concerned that the letter asks borrowers 'to consider not making any more repayments, as this would cut off their (NHL's) lifeline.' Instead, it suggests that borrowers make their mortgage payments to their solicitors.

An NHL spokesman said that if people did not pay their mortgages 'eventually they will get repossessed'.

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