HSBC has been sending out a mysterious letter together with a cheque fo £25 for each account held.
The letter give no details whatsoever of what the payments are for. HSBC would not be making payments of their own volition, so presumably the Financial Conduct Authority have ordered HSBC to make these payments, but I can find nothing on the FCA website about them.
I suspect the payments are related to fact that HSBC used to have a “pretend” firm of solicitors who wrote to debtors threatening them with legal action, DG Solicitors. This was not a firm of solicitors, but lawyers employed by HSBC pretending to be a firm. HSBC even wrote to the Treasury Select Committer claiming the firm was regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which was simply not true.
If you have received one of these letters and cheques my advice is to write to HSBC asking for more details about what the payment is for, and state in your letter that you will accept the payment as part payment and without prejudice to any further claim you may have against the bank. In the meantime, I will write to the FCA to see if they can shed any light on the matter, and will update this site when I hear back from them.
Update 4 December 2020
I have now made a Freedom of Information Act request to the Financial Conduct Authority:
And this is the FCA response – they refused to provide any information and even thought it wise to redact the name of the bank, which is pretty stupid.