Guy Leitch applied for a home loan of R4 million through bond originator Betterbond.
Standard Bank granted him the loan.
Leitch didn’t need R4 million immediately – he wanted an access bond on his property in Simons Town to use in the development of a property in Hoedspruit.
The bond account was opened, but I was told I had to visit a branch to open the access side of the account. I am a private banking client of other banks, so this was the first time I have visited a branch in years. I went to the Long Beach Mall branch of Standard on or about 1 June. There an access account was opened, and I was given a card – which I did not want.— Guy Leitch, Standard Bank home loan applicant
A branch employee told Leitch that having a positive balance in the access account reduced the interest the bank charges.
Standard Bank transferred R4 million into the “access” account and an assistant helped Leitch to load the bank’s app on his phone.
Leitch went abroad for six weeks.
Upon his return, he discovered he wasn’t earning any interest on the positive balance of R4 million.
So Standard Bank has had my funds for six weeks yet has paid no interest. Neither has the bank reduced or offset the interest paid on my home loan account. This is completely against the principle of an access bond.— Guy Leitch, Standard Bank home loan applicant
Leitch lost about R41 000 in interest.
Charging interest for money you have not withdrawn is just not on!— Guy Leitch, Standard Bank home loan applicant
Neither Standard Bank nor Betterbond responded to his complaints, so he contacted consumer journalist Wendy Knowler.
"Very soon" after Knowler took up the case, Standard Bank refunded him R57 000, despite him only asking for R41 000.
They said they will phone me to open a proper Standard Bank Access Bond account - whatever that is. And why do they need two accounts for a home loan?— Guy Leitch, Standard Bank home loan applicant
Standard Bank says it was just a misunderstanding.
He did not sign an application for an access bond - he signed an application for one of Standard Bank’s base transactional account, which they call an “Access” account.
It had nothing to do with a home loan access bond at all!
How the consultant didn’t pick that up is mind-boggling, given the amount being transferred into that noninterest earning account!— Wendy Knowler, consumer journalist
We’ve never seen anything like this. It’s a one-off. It’s quite unusual for someone to apply for a home loan on an existing property of theirs to use to develop another property.— Andrew van der Hoven, Head of Home Loans - Standard Bank
Standard Bank requires those who have a home loan with them to have a transactional account as well so they can move their money around easily online, said Van Der Hoven.
It just so happened that we have a transactional account called an access account, hence the confusion. He thought it was an access bond.— Andrew van der Hoven, Head of Home Loans - Standard Bank
How did the bank miss this and not answer Guy’s emails, asked Knowler?
Why did it take so long to respond?
They don’t know; they’re very sorry.
I did make it clear to Betterbond that it had to be an 'access bond' as I will be building and did not know for how much, or when we would be able to start. I am not an idiot - I was for a while the MD of a division of Nedcor - looking after Properties in Possession. I have an MSc in Housing Finance. The bottom line is they were charging me interest on money they had not given me, that I had not asked for, and didn’t want.— Guy Leitch, Standard Bank home loan applicant
Listen to the interview in the audio below.
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