Editorial

Dear Reader: Hallelujah! Nedbank gets into the spirit


It’s Christmas, and, in the spirit of good cheer, Mr Nose has a small item of good news for you. Actually it’s Nedbank that has produced the moving moment.

Many readers were – appropriately – outraged by the report in our last issue on the financial catastrophe that has struck Mrs Johanna (Cathy) Brinkhuis (48), a sausage maker employed by Spar in the Strand, as a result of having borrowed just R4,800 from Nedbank in August 2005.

It was really all about what happens to poor people when they are obliged to borrow money from financial institutions at 82% interest. Yes, that’s what Nedbank charged in the “good old days” on their “classic loan”. (And they didn’t think they needed to feel bad about it, when African Bank were getting away with charging 174.4% for such loans!)

Anyway, by May 2007 Mrs Brinkhuis had paid off R6,824 on her R4,800 loan – but the bank was suing her because she still owed them another R5,814. Not surprisingly, matters simply went downhill from there: with luck, at the current rate, she was going to have paid R41,780 on a R4,800 loan by the time it was settled in 2015!

When Mr Nose’s old friend Dr David Klatzow saw our story, he was instantly on his high horse and the phone to poor Sarel Rudd, the head of personal loans at Nedbank. The immoderate language used will not be repeated because it’s Christmas time and, as it transpires, Mr Rudd is a good man who quickly entered into the spirit of things ... Christmas, that is. The result was the following cheering statement, that noseweek has received from Nedbank:

“Having taken this matter into consideration and out of regard for the plight of our client which Mr Nose has brought to our attention, we have taken a decision to do the following:

  • Write off the outstanding balance on this account;
  • Cancel the emoluments attachment order (garnishee) [the court-ordered monthly deduction from her salary]; and
  • Expunge all adverse credit bureaux records pertaining to this account.

“In the spirit of customer service and empathy for our client, the bank has taken a decision to compensate our client for any possible distress and inconvenience she may have suffered in highlighting her plight by paying her an amount of R2,000.

“The offer is made without prejudice to the bank’s rights and constitutes an ex gratia payment that should not be construed as an admission of liability or negligence on the part of the bank.

“Kindly note that in order to effect the above we will be in contact with our
client.”

Happy Christmas!
The Editor

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Submitted by : Ralph Laing of Durbanville on 2009-11-28 10:01:08
Are we supposed to feel good about that? What about the other poor, exploited souls whose plight did not reach Mr. Nose's attention and so embarrass Nedbank?

Is Nedbank going to re-visit its lending policy to ensure this sort of usurious practice is discontinued? I doubt it.

It's just too easy. A R2,000 ex gratia payment and an ingratiating letter is small change compared to the amount of money owed the bank by others in a similar situation.

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