The great foreclosure rip off

Posted 16 March 2020

January’s interest rate cut has effectively wiped out all mortgage bond arrears, say consumer activists. But you won’t hear that from your bank.

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Court decision opens the way for consumers to recover billions in over-charges

Posted 17 December 2019

The Cape High Court on Friday delivered a damning judgment against credit providers for over-charging on legal fees and interest in contravention of the National Credit Act (NCA) which came into force in 2007.

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The days of banks suing you in the high court are over

Posted 03 December 2019

The banks from hereon must argue their cases in the much cheaper and more accessible magistrates' court. 

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Congratulations, your mortgage arrears have been extinguished

Posted 24 July 2019

Last week’s 0.25% per annum interest rate reduction extinguished the arrears on tens of thousands of mortgage bonds. That’s the claim being made by several property owners in cases before the courts involving multiple banks.

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How to save your house from bank repossession

Posted 04 June 2019

In this CFO Talks interview, Ciaran Ryan talks to consumer legal expert Leonard Benjamin about some surprisingly easy ways to stop your home being repossessed by the banks. Also discussed are illegal garnishee orders and how banks are routinely making "errors" when it comes to calculating mortgage bond arrears.

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Thousands of vehicles are being repossessed each year based on false figures

Posted 03 May 2019

Eight years ago debt counsellor Fanie Grové started looking at vehicle loan statements from his clients and was staggered by what he saw: in every one of more than 80 cases he examined where the borrower had fallen into arrears, he says the bank was unlawfully overcharging interest. 

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Standard Bank accused of ‘double dipping’ in home repo case

Posted 03 May 2019

In a case due to come before the Eastern Cape High Court this month, Standard Bank is accused of double charging the arrears amount owed by a mortgage client, resulting in a guest lodge being repossessed and sold at auction for a fraction of its market value.

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Claims of discrimination against black FNB customers heads to court

Posted 04 December 2018

More than 4 000 bank customers claim they were charged 30% more than whites on mortgage loans, and the case is now headed to the Equality Court.

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How to deal with debt collectors and "fake" debts

Posted 29 November 2018

Debt collectors are a pestilence and are expertly guided by smart lawyers to circumvent the law. Leonard Benjamin explains.

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The days of easy evictions are drawing to a close

Posted 19 November 2018

Following the lead recently set by the South Gauteng High Court, a full bench of the Cape High Court will decide this week whether to set reserve prices on repossessed homes.

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How banks are routinely over-charging on vehicle loans

Posted 06 October 2018

Eight years ago debt counsellor Fanie Grové started looking at vehicle loan statements from his clients and was staggered by what he saw: in every one of more than 80 cases he examined where the borrower had fallen into arrears, he says the bank was unlawfully overcharging interest. In some cases, the overcharge was 40-50% more than the interest allowable in terms of the National Credit Act (NCA).

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Banks are clogging up the justice system, says court

Posted 04 October 2018

Banks seeking judgment against borrowers should use the magistrates’ courts, the Pretoria High Court has ruled. By bringing trifling matters before the high courts, banks are clogging up the justice system.

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Another victory for debtors as judges rule cases must be referred to lower courts

Posted 03 October 2018

The Pretoria High Court struck another blow on behalf of distressed debtors last week. A full bench of three judges ruled that magistrate’s courts should be the first port of call for financial institutions seeking judgment against their clients, where matters fall within the lower courts’ monetary jurisdiction. This makes it cheaper for people to defend matters against the banks.

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Joburg court ruling paves the way for class action suit against banks

Posted 18 September 2018

Last week’s Joburg court case forcing judges to impose reserve prices on all auction sales resulting from bank repossession has several important ramifications, not least of which it paves the way for a class action suit against the banks for decades of stealing people's home equity in violation of the Constitution.

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Gauteng court judgment puts an end to cheap bank repossessions

Posted 14 September 2018

A full bench of the South Gauteng High Court ruled on Wednesday that repossessed homes may no longer be sold at auction without reserve prices, except in exceptional circumstances.

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Judges grill banks on home repo practices

Posted 03 September 2018

A full bench of the Johannesburg High Court sat last week to deliberate on how and when reserve prices should be applied before repossessed homes are sold at sheriffs’ auctions. The three judges berated the banks for arriving in court without proper paperwork and expecting to be given judgments against clients.                        

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Court papers reveal the state of the mortgage sector

Posted 26 August 2018

Court papers filed in the South Gauteng by two of the major mortgage banks – Standard and Absa – provide a fascinating insight into the health of SA’s property sector. There are about 8 million properties in SA, of which 82% are residential. This amounts to 6,5 million residential properties, of which 33,5% are bonded. The bonded properties were worth R2,6 trillion in 2017, amounting to 52,4% of the total value of all residential properties in SA, and 56,5% of GDP.

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Nedbank slammed for brazen negligence

Posted 18 August 2018

Ordinary bank clients are seldom legally successful against the giant banks to which they entrust their money, even when the banks make terrible mistakes. That’s why the Namibian case of Faida Trading has intrigued legal writer Carmel Rickard. In her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site, she wonders what caused Nedbank to resort to what looks to her like bullying tactics rather than owning up to an awful and unexplained error by their staff. In the end the judge slammed the bank for being ‘unreasonable’, ‘obdurate’ and ‘brazingly negligent’ – but the customer was put through the wringer in getting there.

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Court to decide on how to handle home repossessions

Posted 15 August 2018

A landmark case to decide how banks should deal with home repossessions will be heard on 28 and 29 August in the South Gauteng High Court.

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Landmark court case seeks to stop over-charging by creditors

Posted 13 August 2018

Court papers filed in the Western Cape High Court last week by University of Stellenbosch’s Law Clinic and Summit Financial Partners make for disturbing reading. They are asking the court to stop creditors from loading unlawful costs onto the accounts of distressed debtors, which they reckon has cost debtors R1 billion in unlawful fees. 

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Can banks sell your house for next to nothing?

Posted 31 July 2018

One of the most popular methods by which South Africans purchase immovable property is through a loan from a bank. This process involves a mortgage bond being registered over the immovable property as security by the bank to ensure that if a person fails to pay back the loan, the bank can rely on this as security in order to claim any outstanding money owed to them.

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Absa's rebranding launch rudely interrupted by protesters

Posted 13 July 2018

Absa launched its new logo and image this week as part of its separation from Barclays. Visitors to Absa’s head office in Joburg were greeted by a gathering of aggrieved customers, led by the Lungelo Lethu  Human Rights Foundation (LLHRF), protesting the bank’s abusive home repossession practices. A memorandum was handed over to a senior representative of the bank’s legal department, with an undertaking to commence a dialogue with LLHRF to iron out grievances.

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Massive class action suit against Australian banks

Posted 31 May 2018

A Royal Commission of Inquiry into banking misconduct in Australia has heard heart-rending testimony of brutal banking practices, including cases where pensioners in their 80s were forced to sell their homes to repay loans. Now a massive class action suit is in the bake over reckless lending, focusing on those who took out mortgage loans since 2012. This is one of several class action suits now being launched against the banks.

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The ugly face of modern banking

Posted 22 May 2018

A 72 year old man gets a 30 year loan which he cannot repay, so he is forced to sell his house. Bank staff are there to flog you stuff you don't want or need. They hate their jobs, but are given stiff sales target to meet so the bosses can get year-end bonuses that run into the millions. When you default, the bank comes after everything you have. Staff are prevented from talking bad about their employers because of "disparagement clauses" in their employment contracts. Even years after they have left the bank. When, customers are asking, will bank executives get time in jail, in this expose in the wake of the Australian Commission of Inquiry into Banking. You could just as easily cut and paste this story for SA. 

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EFF wants a state-owned bank to counter the predatory practices of the Big 4

Posted 15 May 2018

The EFF has shown itself a force for progressive change in SA, recently tabling a bill which would allow for the creation of a state-owned bank. In this article on Daily Maverick, deputy head of the EFF, Floyd Shivambu, explains how the existing Big 4 banks - Absa, Standard, Nedbank and FNB - continue their predatory practices against South Africans. This article shows a deep understanding of the extent to which banks are retarding the economic development of the country.

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