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Usury expert says FNB racially profiling blacks

FNB IS recognised as one of the most valuable brands in Africa. Picture: File

FNB IS recognised as one of the most valuable brands in Africa. Picture: File

Published Feb 21, 2022


Pretoria - Prominent usury expert Emerald van Zyl has repeated his assertions that FNB and its associate, Wesbank, discriminated against black people by racially profiling clients according to their race.

Despite various courts ruling against him in the past, Van Zyl has insisted that FNB’s vehicle financing division Wesbank subjected black people to inaccurate repayment calculations as part of its finance application processes. This is the latest in a series of accusations against South Africa's major banks which face claims that they have been racially profiling their clients and putting black people at the bottom of the food chain.

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While many people across the racial line had been victims of the banks, according to Van Zyl, black people had suffered the most because of racial profiling. “How can they (black people) live a better life if they pay double the interest on the mortgage loans than white people, and 8 to 9% on a motor vehicle?” wondered Van Zyl who promised to soon release a book with documented proof of his allegations against the banks.

The usury has become popular among social media users for his struggle to protect consumers from being exploited by powerful financial institutions. Van Zyl would go as far as inviting people who had been unfairly charged higher interest rates to contact him. He has repeatedly alleged that sometimes banks would issue clients with a summons for defaulting by two months in their instalments.

Van Zyl said some people were forced to default after being overcharged monies “related to illegal debits and interest”. Van Zyl, who is also known as “bond re-calculator” or “private financial consultant”, also accused Saambou bank of having done the same before it was swallowed by FNB.

FNB rejected Van Zyl’s claims and pointed out that they had been found to be false claims by the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. “It found that he ‘showed no respect for the exposure of the fallacy of his conclusions of racism’ and that he ‘clearly shows a malicious disregard for the facts and an overriding desire… to continue his vendetta’ against FNB.

“FNB maintains that the claims are irresponsible and unacceptable. The bank cautions consumers to be aware of unscrupulous individuals who callously sow division through false claims of racial discrimination,” said FNB. It is not the first time that FNB has been accused of discriminatory practices against targeted black people.

“Last year, the Pretoria News’ sister paper the Daily News reported that whistle-blower Siphokazi Ndudane, the former deputy director-general at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), had made the same allegations.

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This was after her FNB bank account was terminated after she had exposed alleged corruption within the department involving powerful politicians. According to Ndudane, the culprits were allegedly involved in the stealing and smuggling of abalone to Asian countries.

She said without giving a reason for its action against her, FNB said the termination of her banking facilities was “due to the associated reputational and business risks”.

This is the same reason FNB and later Nedbank gave to 43 companies owned by the Sekunjalo Group when they terminated their banking facilities in recent weeks.

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Van Zyl has also expressed displeasure at political parties, including those that sell themselves as pro-black, saying they had not lifted a finger in fighting for millions of black customers.

He said this was because most political parties or their individual leaders were allegedly in the pockets of the powerful financial institutions. They, he added, would therefore not bite the hand that fed them.

“No political party will act against (banks). Political parties across the board – the banks are their financial supporters.”

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WesBank spokesperson Lebogang Gaoaketse said the bank was aware of the discrimination and incorrect calculation allegations being made by Van Zyl about its vehicle finance applications processes.

He rejected van Zyl’s claims, saying that WesBank did not discriminate against customers regardless of race, gender, creed or age. Gaoaketse added that all vehicle finance applications were assessed on affordability and the customer’s credit profile in accordance with the National Credit Act.

“Following numerous social media posts by Van Zyl alleging incorrect calculations pertaining to WesBank’s customer accounts, WesBank has invited Mr van Zyl more than once to meet in order to address and rectify his allegations. To date Mr van Zyl has not responded to these invitations,” said Gaoketse.

* Falcons Investigations – [email protected]

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FNBFinanceHigh Court