Standard Bank recently charged 67 of its employees with serious fraud and dishonesty after identifying 20,000 retail customer accounts that may not have been activated in accordance with policies and procedures.
All the bank accounts in question report for less than 0.1% of the 1.2 million new accounts that were opened in 2021.
Finance news website, Fin24 first reported this news stating that Standard Bank has already fired more than 30 of its employees for allegedly creating ghost accounts. The employees are even accused of depositing very small amounts of their own money in order to activate these accounts. This in turn helped them to reach the company targets very easily.
However, Standard Banks’ spokesperson Ross Linstrom stated that this case was done in confinement and that it did not affect the ability of the bank to offer affordable banking products to their customers.
According to the bank, the case was largely confirmed by the local region of the Western Cape, and employees found to have violated banking rules and regulations will be subject to formal disciplinary action, regardless of the person’s position.
Retail banking has become a public space with the arrival of Tyme Bank and Bank Zero, which have reduced banking fees in order to gain market share.
Similarly, a case had come up in 2016 where Wells Fargo Bank was hit with a penalty of $185 million. It was the largest penalty ever imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Over 5,000 employees were fired after they were found earning bonuses illegally by creating accounts for customers without their knowledge.