STANDARD Bank has again been accused of using underhanded tactics to short change its clients, claiming that a couple had defaulted in their bond repayments.
The accusations come after one of the bank’s clients was allegedly overcharged by the bank.
Shamilla Pather and her husband Roman, of Pinetown, say they were overcharged by the bank which, they say, has also prolonged court processes intended to resolve the matter.
Pather accused the bank of expecting her and her husband to pay R600 000 more over a 10-year period in lieu of one month of arrears of R8 800.
She said they had not been notified that they had defaulted on repayments and that her accountant had found they had instead overpaid.
In 2003 the couple initiated a bond with Standard Bank for R249 000, and in 2005 extended it with another R170 000, totalling R419 000.
Pather said she repaid, between R2005 and 2009 while studying in England, more than R140 000 into the bond after selling off another property.
When her husband was retrenched in 2017, they decided to pay off the bond and were told they still owed about R394 000.
“This shocked us and we asked them to investigate. After many months of phone calls and emails we were informed that as we were struggling financially, the bank did us a favour and extended our bond from 20 years to 30 years, without telling us or giving us an opportunity to rectify the problem.
“According to them we were in arrears in April 2009 for an amount of R8 800. I got all the bond statements from the bank and found that I was not in arrears and, in fact, had paid more than R9 000 into the bond in that specific month. I was also not struggling financially, as they claimed,” said Pather.
She said the payment reflected on her bank statement, but was omitted on the bank's bond spreadsheet, creating the impression that she was in arrears.
“We got our accountant to calculate our bond payments up to August 2017 and found that we had actually paid over R890 000,” she said.
The couple have also been hauled to the Durban Regional Court over the matter.
“Every person I dealt with at the bank acted as if I had no right to question them. They had given me an answer and that was it. Whether it was correct or not, I had no right to question it. I hit a brick wall,” she said, accusing Standard Bank’s legal representatives of hauling them from pillar to post.
“They claimed that the bank wanted to explore a settlement, but this was just a ruse to delay the matter as the attorney that attended the meeting had incorrect facts, false information and was plainly ignorant of the matter,” she said.
Standard Bank spokesperson Ross Linstrom said: “Standard Bank is in direct contact with Mr and Mrs Pather on this matter and we are working to achieve an amicable resolution.
“Should this not be possible, the matter is before the courts for consideration. We cannot comment further on this until we have concluded our engagements.
“Where a client falls into arrears, the bank will use its best endeavours to engage the client in order to explore options that will assist the client to regain its financial momentum and remedy the arrears in a manner appropriate for the client’s circumstances.”
The spate of incidents regarding the banking institution has been on a surge in recent months.
Independent Media recently reported that a couple, this time in Forest Hill, Gauteng Patrick and Polin Anthony, defaulted on their mortgage payments for their home in Forest Hill, Gauteng.
However, Standard Bank debited an amount of R124 047.34 from Anthony’s family bank account allegedly after increasing the interest rate from -1% to 1% from August 1, 2009.
However, this allegedly resulted in an overpayment of R135 301.30, proven by financial investigator Emerald van Zyl, who said the overpayment was revealed by an independent actuary accusing the bank to have allegedly increased the prime rate through internal policy.