Bank transparency crusader to fight on

2012-06-04 00:00

THE man behind a fight against the banks lost his Constitutional Court case last week.

However, author and researcher Michael Tellinger plans to take the matter forward in the Supreme Court.

He took on Standard Bank after the bank allegedly failed to provide him with key documents relating to his home loan when he fell behind on his payments.

Tellinger said he would apply for a new action against the bank, based on his experiences in the various court processes.

“Basically, I am trying to get everything that happened to me to be declared unconstitutional,” he said.

Now a non-profit organisation called the New Economic Rights Alliance (Nera)plans to launch a class action law suit against the banks, according to Scott Cundill, its co-founder.

Cundill said Nera would hold a “low-key march” that was expected to attract about 50 people in Pietermaritzburg today, and that it would deliver a petition to the KZN Legislature.

He said Nera was calling for an inquiry into the handling of insolvency claims against farmers and other property owners.

Nera, which claims to have about 50 000 supporters, believes that properties are being taken away unfairly, at the expense of the nation’s food security.

“Pietermaritzburg is a strong farming area and we have to protect our farmers,” Cundill said.

He said today’s march would be followed by similar protests across the country.

Said Tellinger: “The voice of the people will not be heard by the highest court in the land, while people’s lives are being ruined by lawless banksters with impunity every day. We thought that we were protected by the law … but the common man on the street has no rights.”

In response to the judgment, Standard Bank said: “The Constitutional Court handed down an order in which it stated that it has considered the application for leave to appeal and has concluded that the application should be dismissed as there are no prospects of success.”

The case is essentially aimed at getting transparency in the banking industry, particularly when it comes to how banks use consumers’ money.

Tellinger’s arguments and allegations include:

• Banks are failing to provide simple information to their customers;

• Banks do not, as they claim, “loan” money. Money loaned is actually money created, via an elaborate scheme of paper shifting and number crunching;

• Banks are foreclosing on, or repossessing, people’s homes and assets by using the contract as a shield;

• Banks engage in securitisation, and refuse to disclose the securitisation process to the customer.

Nera plans to take on the banks regarding the following issues and allegations:

• “Unconstitutional” stripping of homes, vehicles, cash and other assets from South Africans;

• Lack of any workable structure that has succeeded in assisting those in need;

• Non-disclosure or secrecy about money-creation and securitisation practices.

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