The recent media revelations that FNB is discriminating against black people by overcharging them are not surprising because this bank has been doing this for a very long time. What is more surprising is the fact that the regulators have done very little to deal with this problem that has existed for more than fifteen years.
In 2012, Noseweek magazine exposed FNB, which had taken over 80 000 clients from Saambou, when it collapsed in 2002 for continuing to do what Saambou had done by overcharging them. It was discovered also at that time that these clients were mainly black
It is a travesty that FSB, Competition Tribunal and the South African Reserve Bank have done nothing to hold FNB accountable and have continued to allow this bank to act with impunity.
These sordid revelations follow in the footsteps of ABSA admitting that it was involved in currency manipulation. The South African financial sector is seriously detrimental to the wellbeing of the country’s economy. Not long ago about 17 banks including Investec Ltd, ABSA Bank Limited (ABSA), and Standard Bank were discovered to have had a general agreement to collude in relation to currency trading involving US Dollar / Rand currency pair. Members of retirement funds lost billions of rands of their assets through such manipulation of our currency. These are the only savings of workers and yet bank executives have faced no prosecution.
This country’s banks are not held accountable for how they conduct their business and they make decisions that are not developmental and they abuse their hegemony and monopoly. They sideline and discriminate against black people, small businesses and workers.
This is why COSATU has been calling for a State Bank and also a Workers Bank. The fact that the Reserve Bank and National Treasury are bitterly opposed to the creation of a state financial institution confirmed our assertion that the Reserve Bank itself is only notionally independent as it is captive to the narrow interests of the rentier financial capitalists.
We support the calls for a Commission of Inquiry to look into the behaviour of these banks. We also call on the law enforcement agencies to investigate these allegations and criminally prosecute the responsible managers, who are implicated in this FNB crime.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794