IN THE NEWS: FNB, SAAMBOU
Five years after Saambou shut down its curator, John Louw, announced that claims by customers against the bank would be accepted until December.
The Saambou Home Loans division has been incorrectly calculating the interest it charged on outstanding mortgages, which lead to many homes being repossessed when in fact the accounts had been in advance.
Home Loan interest is charged to the outstanding amount at the end of each month, but Saambou clients were being charged interest at the beginning of every month.
This meant that their clients were paying much higher monthly installments and taking longer to payoff their home loans.
Saambou had calculated interest rates using the old building-society method, in arrears, rather than the modern banking method, by which interest is calculated on a daily basis.
After FNB took over Saambou’s client list in May 2002 it has since begun to rectify this problem.
FNB Home Loans had acquired about 80 000 accounts, 10 000 of which were in distress and which it administered on behalf of the curator.
FNB Home Loans CEO Ed Grondel says it is impossible to say how many of those customers may have been disadvantaged due to the incorrect interest rate calculations, because every account would have to be investigated manually.
Louw said it was “surprising” that customers who thought they may have a claim against Saambou had not yet come forward, despite advertisements in the press inviting them to do so.
“We have been accepting claims for three years now, and they come in waves,” Louw said.
“We are in the process of refunding people who have a legal and valid claim.”