100,000 South Africans' lives ruined by court repossession rules since Constitution enacted

Posted 31 August 2016

In a recent article in De Rebus, Advocate Douglas Shaw welcomes some recent changes to rules that allow courts to set reserve prices (but do not compel them). This means properties sold in execution may be sold at closer to market price. Shaw also bemoans the fact that SA's repossession regime is among the most backward in the world. More than 100,000 South Africans have had their lives ruined since the Constitution was enacted some 20 years ago.

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Banks preparing for "economic nuclear winter"

Posted 29 August 2016

The Brexit vote, leading to Britain's exit from the European Union, is likely to trigger similar calls from France, Netherlands and other European countries tethered to a sinking economic union and a dodgy Euro. Bank stocks are already seriously under pressure from weak corporate earnings and economic uncertainty. According to this report from CNBC, banks are now preparing for the worst.

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The biggest power grab by bureaucracy yet

Posted 24 August 2016

You give a piece of legislation a name like the Financial Services Regulation Bill and you know people will yawn and turn the page. Yet buried in this proposed law are some whoppers. We are going to get not one, but two, giant bureaucracies that will cost between R4bn and R6bn a year, paid for of course by the consumer. We are adding layer upon layer of regulation in a fruitless attempt to prevent future financial crises. Nobel laureate George Stigler investigated the economic costs of regulation and came to the conclusion that bureaucracies often end up performing no discernible public good, or what he called regulatory capture.

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Sasfin's photocopier deal turns out to be a whopper

Posted 08 August 2016

Asset manager and chartered accountant Sunil Shah didn't read the fine print when signing an agreemernt for the rental of a photocopy machine with a Sasfin-associated finance company. So a machine that was advertised on the internet for R7,500 ended up costing him R15,000 even though he delivered it back to the company after just three months. This is because of loopholes that allow these rental companies to side-step the National Credit Act. BizNews reports on how this happened.

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How to check if your bank is ripping you off

Posted 29 June 2016

In this article Armand Rinier looks at how banks and other lenders are engaging in reckless lending. The practice is so common, it would require a book to cover all the creative ways banks are breaking the law. It's time to pull out your bank statements and see whether or not you are being gouged by the banks. 

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How to defend yourself against the banks

Posted 21 June 2016

If every debtor served with a summons defended the action, it would choke the legal system and force the banks to come up with better solutions for customers who have difficulties in meeting their monthly payments. It's an actuarial fact that the average mortgage borrower will either default or settle the bond within seven years. Banks know this. Despite well-intentioned laws, lenders are engaging in reckless lending on a daily basis. In this regular weekly column, Debt Nurse Armand Rinier will explain how to effectively protect your rights and assets when under threat from the banks.

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Why are so many bankers committing suicide?

Posted 14 June 2016

Michael Gray has brought out a documentary The Banker Suicides, questioning whether the dozens of banker "suicides" since 2007 were actually suicides, whether they were stress-related, or was there something more sinister afoot. In several of these suicides, there are common threads and connections that went previously undetected.  

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Klatzow to take on FNB in class action

Posted 01 June 2016

A forensic scientist is planning to bring a class action suit against FNB over its systemic failure to represent its clients' interests on online banking fraud cases. The trigger for this was an attempt by FNB to reach a partial rather than a full settlement of a client's claim that R300,000 was stolen out of her account. FNB attempted to push at least some of the blame on the client. 

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The fight back begins, Greek activists block home foreclosures

Posted 28 May 2016

Where is South Africa's spirit of protest over outrageous bank behaviour in removing people from their homes? Greek activists have taken to protesting outside court houses and successfully blocked 800 home repossessions in the process. Perhaps South Africans will wake up from their slumber and start a similar movement here. Any takers? 

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Capitec accused of reckless lending

Posted 05 May 2016

Capitec is accused of making unjustified revenues of more than R1bn through its so-called multi-loan products. The accuser is Summit Financial Partners, which advises low income consumers with financial advice. The multi-loan products being sold by Capitec are claimed to generate margins of between 150% and 500%, according to Business Day.

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The economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit - Part 2

Posted 26 April 2016

In the second part of this series, William Black testifies before the Inquiry into the banking crisis in Ireland. He talks from a US perspective, but explains how to tell when banks are behaving recklessly (when their loan books are growing faster than the economy), how bankers have lobbied politicians to get rid of pesky legislation that inhibits their gambling instincts and how they have managed to avoid going to jail. This is fascinating testimony into the dark heart of modern banking.  

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The economic underworld of bankruptcy for profit

Posted 24 April 2016

Professor William Black, an expert on banking and economics from the US, testified in 2015 before the Joint Committee of Inquiry into the Banking Crisis in Ireland. In his testimony, he pointed out that the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 is certain to repeat because none of of the criminal bankers that bankrupted the country had been sent to jail - unlike the "Savings and Loans" crisis nearly two decades earlier in the US, which resulted in more than 1,000 convictions. One of the indicators that tell us banks are making "liar loans" is the speed at which lending is growing. If Black is right, modern banking will sink us all. 

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Morgan Stanley to pay $3,2bn over "flawed" mortgage loans

Posted 11 February 2016

Morgan Stanley is the latest US bank to fess up to its role in the grand heist of 2008 when it fleeced investors and dumped subprime mortgages onto unsuspecting investors. It will cough up $3,2bn we learned this week. Bank of America agreed to pay $16,6bn in 2014.

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"If I could predict the crash of 2008, why couldn't the Fed?" - Dr Michael Burry

Posted 28 December 2015

Dr Michael Burry is the inspiration behind the blockbuster movie The Big Short. If he could predict the market crash of 2008, why couldn't the government and the Federal Reserve? When he asked these questions publically in 2010, he was investigated by the tax authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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26 bankers sentenced to combined 74 years in Iceland

Posted 09 November 2015

Here's how you do it: round up the bankers who sank your country into bankruptcy and lock them away. Ireland is seeking extradition from the US of the former CEO of Anglo Irish Bank for his part in Ireland's 2009 banking crisis. But Iceland is way ahead of the pack, jailing 26 bankers for a total of 74 years.

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Credit blacklisting at an all-time high

Posted 05 October 2015

The SA Communist Party has come out swinging against profiteering financial institutions over recent news that 11m out of 19m South Africans with access to credit are over-indebted.

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US Justice Department sets sights on Wall Street executives

Posted 21 September 2015

The US Justice Department, stung by criticism that it let Wall Street executives off the hook by allowing their employers to pay fines, has now taken off the gloves. New rules issued to prosecutors require them to focus on individual employees in their investigations, which means more executives could spend time in jail.

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Nedbank CEO Mike Brown to challenge subpoena to appear at liquidation inquiry

Posted 25 June 2015

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown says he will challenge a subpoena calling on him to appear at an inquiry relating to the liquidation of Waterkloospruit Projects in 2001, when he was in charge of property finance at BOE Bank, later acquired by Nedbank. BOE picked up 137 stands for R100,000 in what is claimed was a sham auction, according to this article in Moneyweb.

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Concourt ruling means a sea change for banks

Posted 03 June 2015

The Concourt handed down a ruling in March that delivers a major blow to lenders. It suspends, once litigation has commenced, the operation of the so-called in duplum rule, which means lenders cannot then charge more than double the outstanding capital on a loan, according to this article from Werksmans.

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Meet the man who tried to arrest the board of Standard Bank

Posted 20 March 2015

Jonathan Buckley of Centurion in Pretoria may be the first South African in history to win six judgments against Standard Bank in one day. When the bank failed to comply with the court order compelling it to release documents related to loans he had taken out, he sued the directors for contempt of court.  

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SA banks under fire for high fees

Posted 16 February 2015

The ANC and Cosatu are threatening "drastic action" over high fees charged by SA's banks. The Democratic Alliance has warned against meddling with "free market forces" which is an odd statement for a sector in which there are just four major players. Hardly a free market at all. 

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Absa gets snot-klapped in Pretoria High Court by women's army

Posted 30 November 2014

Aba's troubles in its mortgage division just got a whole lot worse. Barely two months after losing two similar cases in the South Gauteng High Court, the bank folded before throwing a punch in the Pretoria High Court against two sisters who made startling allegations of fraud and misconduct against the bank. 

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Banks to be hit with avalanche of cases from dispossessed home owners

Posted 07 November 2014

South African banks are about to be hit with an avalanche of legal suits from dispossessed home owners whose properties were sold in execution at a fraction of their market value. They are arguing that this violates their Constitutional rights to property and fair administrative justice.

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How one man's life was ruined after asking uncomfortable questions of FNB

Posted 17 October 2014

Durban-based Nav Chan started questioning FNB's eBucks rewards calculations. Weeks later his accounts were cancelled and he found himself listed on a secretive banking database operated by SA Fraud Prevention Services. Suddenly, his business started to take a dive.  

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Banks resort to grabbing money out of your account as law closes in

Posted 20 September 2014

Banks are resorting to grabbing money out of customers' accounts in settlement of debts but this is soon to become illegal. Here's how to handle the situation, according to Wendy Knowler at Consumer Watch.

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