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Amalgamated Bull Shit Artists

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Gogtjop
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« on: February 22, 2012, 18:49:13 PM »

All of you have probably heard or read about the accusations leveled at ABSA for the way they are treating their staff with their current 'restructuring' process.

There are articles on ITWeb and elsewhere about a potential 1600 I.T. jobs alone that are being axed. Verifiable stories abound about staff members being yanked out of meetings and escorted out the front door by security staff.

ABSA of course are denying that that they are retrenching people, but this is purely to deceive SASBO and hide what is really going on.

Now, as a former ABSA employee, I always felt that the bank was a ponderous, bloated and inefficient gargant, with expenditure on corporate masturbatory rubbish entirely off the charts. And of course the account-holders footed the bill. I always felt that there was a lot of dead wood in the corporate structure, and that the bank could be much more dynamic and streamlined. So I am not opposed to heads rolling in order to streamline operations, it is a business after all. What irks me is that ABSA is firmly in the black, whereas Barclays (which has a controlling stake in ABSA), is in deep financial shit.

This 'restucturing' process is a Barclays initiative, called 'Project Atomic' (can you believe that name?). The project calls for a 24% headcount slash across all sectors of the bank. This amounts to nearly ten thousand people who are in danger of losing their jobs, to appease the bean counters in Blighty. It seems the traditional Rhodes-ian disregard for African dignity is alive and well in the UK, and it is not to rationalise and streamline operations, it is to prop up the piss-poor Barclays bottom line.

Bob Diamond, Barclays CEO, is getting a six million quid bonus, but Barclays is posting a financial loss? How does that work? Can somebody explain it to me?

And yet, ABSA is making a profit, but is being instructed to cut 24% of its workforce?

But I'm digressing a bit. ABSA top management are cloaking Project Atomic as a simple 'restructure', and that nobody is getting retrenched. Well, let me tell you how these slimy bastards are going about it.

First, a new structure is defined. All staff who are not on the new structure are 'invited to re-apply' for their jobs. In the meantime, they are placed on reassignment, and effectively don't have jobs to do. That's where the delightful security escort service off the premises comes in. If, and only if, after three months you do not get repositioned, a 'separation contract' is entered into and you are retrenched.

Not only is this illegal (you may not force an employee to reapply for his/her job), but it is immoral and unethical. While you are on reassignment, you must sit on your bum at home doing nothing, and you still get paid a salary (again, the customer foots the bill). The strategy is to make people find jobs outside the bank, or take early retirement, thereby avoiding the cost of retrenchment in those cases. Many of the affected staff have given 30+ years of service, so it must be a substantial amount of money to be saved through this frankly pathetically transparent bit of legerdemain. That aside, it creates a neat little sidestep for denying that you are retrenching people, because you can simply point to the stats that show that people are resigning, never mind the fact that you are coercing them by force into making this choice.

What is perhaps even worse than this, is Barclay's complete disregard for our employment equity legislation. The new ABSA Retail management structure is completely dominated by white males, whereas many of the existing black management, and in particular black women, were required to undergo competency evaluations. It has become clear by looking at the new structures, that if a white person cannot be found to fill a managerial position, a Barclays import is preferred over a black candidate. The press has not gotten wind of this yet, but they are going to have a field day.

You might wonder where I am getting my info from, let me just say I have a very close and trusted source who is directly involved with this process. In due time there will be more info. My aim is to get the word out, so that an interested party in the media might champion this cause for the sake of thousands of South Africans who once again have to bear the brunt of British greed.

Mario Ramos has an ABSA blog where employees can engage in corporate matters. Any and all references to and questions about the restructuring are immediately censored or deleted. As for Maria, she can be proud of what she's achieved. As a purely political appointment, she was perfectly poised to drag another company through her arse at the behest of wealthy puppet masters, to the detriment of all. Good job!
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Mefiante
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« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2012, 19:31:58 PM »

Interesting what corporates will get up to in order to slip through whichever loopholes of law and decency that they can subvert.  I think one can sympathise with this guy’s sentiments.

'Luthon64
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Gogtjop
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« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2012, 19:53:24 PM »

Well, it's a shame his other comments paint him as conservitard. I understand banker-bashing is a new trend in the UK. One of them lost his knighthood. Good job, now Sir Arsehole is merely mista Arsehole.

It's times likes this I wish I was a high-powered lawyer with a year's worth of bro bono time to offer up. I'd file a legendary class-action suit.

Seems I got out just in time. The missus and I were speculating whether poor old 'Steve from f#*#*ng Bank' is an oblique reference to Steve Booysen, former Absa head honcho. In my opinion it's unlikely, as ABSA started going downhill the day Ramos got appointed, and the other banks are well aware of what goes on in the marble-floored ABSA corridors.
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Faerie
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2012, 08:09:43 AM »

I work for them.  I can tell you stories that will make your hair stand on end....

I too, am in the firing line, I'm awaiting my letter.... 10 minutes later... just got my letter.

At least I'm not being escorted off the property!  Grin
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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2012, 08:45:43 AM »

having been retrenched 3 times myself, i feel the pain.  and there isnt an employer on EARTH that goes about it fairly.  always epic bulshittery going down.
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Zulumoose
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2012, 08:57:28 AM »

I went through this sort of process more than 15 years ago, and it was a disaster.

I worked for an IT giant (still do) and we were handed letters with the wonderfully informative title:- "NOTIFICATION OF INTENTION TO CONSULT"

Nobody knew what this meant, so a meeting was called, with a big-wig from head office flying down, and the upshot was that we were all expected to re-apply for a position within the new company structure, "effectively as of now none of you have a job".

The result, which was probably the real intention in the first place, was that there was a general exodus of everyone who could easily find alternative employment. The problem was that this group inevitably had a very large overlap with what could be termed the group of the best qualified and dynamic people.

A senior manager let it slip later on, when asked about retrenchments he beamed at us and proudly stated "attrition is the way forward", not seeming to realise how this would be percieved. Lots of money can be saved by making people so negative that even if they want to stay they feel forced to resign as any opportunity arises rather than wait for retrenchment and then be forced to look around when there is no assurance a further opportunity will arise.

This led to a further slide, with a dismal outlook and no morale there was a 60% staff turnover in a single year with hardly any retrenchments, and still today every time there is wind of a management announcement, the phrase "Notification of intention to consult" can be heard doing the rumour rounds. Nobody ever trusts a company that pulls that one, and with good reason.

As for myself, I made a critical error. I was still fairly junior, but in a key position. I was offered a way out and approached a manager I trusted with my situation. He talked to senior management and got me a significant increase in the form of a counter-offer, which I was dumb enough to accept.

I stayed, and regretted it, as what my salary jump actually did, was prevent future increases and opportunities, as resentful management acted out petty grievances 
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2012, 12:06:09 PM »

A big salary is a double edged sword. You wish for it when you're younger, but when you get it you realise it comes with handcuffs. Suddenly you can't find another job so easily, your raises aren't as nice any more because suddenly they look horrible on the books, mostly because they are. "Does this guy really need a big bonus?" (see comments about bonuses paid to top execs). And, at least for me, promotion becomes nigh impossible without doing a boomerang (Quit, go work for other company in higher position, come back at new level). I've had to do this once already to be "promoted", I may have to use it again someday.

The honeymoon is over and I'm no longer as flexible as I'd like to be.
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Gogtjop
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« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2012, 14:25:06 PM »

A big salary is a double edged sword. You wish for it when you're younger, but when you get it you realise it comes with handcuffs. Suddenly you can't find another job so easily, your raises aren't as nice any more because suddenly they look horrible on the books, mostly because they are. "Does this guy really need a big bonus?" (see comments about bonuses paid to top execs). And, at least for me, promotion becomes nigh impossible without doing a boomerang (Quit, go work for other company in higher position, come back at new level). I've had to do this once already to be "promoted", I may have to use it again someday.

The honeymoon is over and I'm no longer as flexible as I'd like to be.

Very true, I pretty much feel the same way about my job, and the resultant resignation to eating (and liking) all the shit that comes with it.

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brianvds
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« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2012, 18:24:40 PM »

Well, I'm in the lucky position that I have thus far failed at everything I tried to do, thus while I am poor as a church mouse, I am also blessedly handcuff-free. :-)
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Zulumoose
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2012, 09:08:27 AM »

The real handcuffs come with marriage and kids, when your monthly expenses rise uncontrollably to match or exceed your income. Suddenly you have no room to manoeuvre, cannot take a loss, and cannot justify taking any risks that don't seem like your own to take.

10 years of sub-inflation increases and 2 kids will make what was a good salary at the time an absolute crippler.
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brianvds
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2012, 11:19:33 AM »

The real handcuffs come with marriage and kids, when your monthly expenses rise uncontrollably to match or exceed your income. Suddenly you have no room to manoeuvre, cannot take a loss, and cannot justify taking any risks that don't seem like your own to take.

10 years of sub-inflation increases and 2 kids will make what was a good salary at the time an absolute crippler.

Yup. Lucky for me I also don't have a wife or kids. :-)
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Gogtjop
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2012, 14:36:00 PM »

Having a good woman by your side is worth every cent.
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st0nes
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2012, 15:06:51 PM »

Having a good woman by your side is worth every cent.
I concur.
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brianvds
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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2012, 18:55:59 PM »

Having a good woman by your side is worth every cent.

To each his own.  :-)

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korpen
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« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2012, 17:02:01 PM »

This move from Absa was to be expected..was it not?
I am rather suprised that it's only happening now. Given that the fact that it's allready done with abroad.
Its just ye olde cycle. Banks grow, finance markets flourish, banks become bold, markets crash..employees commit mass suicide ^ ^
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Faerie
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2012, 08:41:09 AM »

This move from Absa was to be expected..was it not?
Not at this magnatude. 25% of the local workforce?
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GCG
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« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2012, 10:02:48 AM »

Having a good woman by your side is worth every cent.
having a good anybody that will help you carry the load by earning a salary, understanding what a budget is, and how to keep to it.
living on my own is awesome.  financially a bastard sometimes.  but if i am forced to eat popcorn coz there is no money for luxuries, i only have myself to answer to.  ok, and 5 cats and two dogs.  but they are easily wooed by bones and catnip.
having financial shit is hard enough.  having to deal with someone else who is not coming to the party, or not understanding, or wanting to still live big, is so much harder.
any man (or woman) that wants to be the sole breadwinner, with the partner in the kitchen, is a selfish prig, setting their family up for financial ruin if the pooh hits the fan.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 12:18:25 PM »

A few days ago eNews featured a banner headline about ABSA emphatically denying rumours of forced retrenchments or using underhanded tactics.  The bulletin didn’t elaborate on the story.  Does anyone know the specifics?

'Luthon64
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Gogtjop
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 12:10:46 PM »

Of course they're denying it.

My source further informs me that Maria Ramos is getting a R14,700,000 bonus this year.
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cyghost
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2012, 12:32:01 PM »

I heard that on Cape Talk yesterday and that she graciously conceded to take it over a period of time rather than a lump sum   Cheesy

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« Reply #20 on: April 05, 2012, 14:38:20 PM »

Trade union Solidarity has launched a campaign against ABSA.  This is interesting, considering that Solidarity represents only a few hundred of the bank's employees while the much more significant Sasbo is failing to act.  The bank has threatened to sue Solidarity if they don't remove certain claims from their website (especially the "Today, Tomorrow, Goodbye" slogan), which they refuse to do.  See here.  In a recent development 270 IT employees from Gijima joined ABSA after a takeover, only to be issued with letters that they must apply for jobs.  Solidarity is convinced this is illegal and is taking ABSA to court.
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Hermes
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« Reply #21 on: April 05, 2012, 14:52:56 PM »

The campaign website is http://www.stopabsa.co.za/.
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Faerie
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« Reply #22 on: April 10, 2012, 07:37:32 AM »

A few days ago eNews featured a banner headline about ABSA emphatically denying rumours of forced retrenchments or using underhanded tactics.  The bulletin didn’t elaborate on the story.  Does anyone know the specifics?

'Luthon64

The manner in which they're going about this is foreign to our culture, it is also in my opinion, extremely underhanded. Instead of simply identifying jobs that needs to go and retrenching outright, they "restructure" and give the "option" for staff to re-apply for jobs, you receive three "choices" of positions you may apply for.  This then goes to a panel of immediate line management and they pick and choose who they want to place where. The rest are then placed on reassignment, which basically mean you can park off at home for three months with full pay, after the three months are up, your contract is terminated. The idea is that for the first month the bank will attempt to place you internally and if not successful, you have two months to find another job externally.  Should you find another position externally within this period, you forego any retrenchment package you might qualify for (since you effectively resigned -see?). So in effect they're at this point of time sticking to their "no retrenchments effected" story due to the fact that the first lot's three months are'nt effectively up yet (this is the IT division - they were the first to be affected in Feb, so in effect only at the end of this month claims of retrenchments can be made).

I myself found myself on a mini vacation for three days before I had an opportunity to go for a panel interview for an entry level job.... I was offered something a tad better after that particular circus, and am still working, many of my colleagues were not as fortunate though.

Its a bloody mess and morale is dreadful, we have top management trying to appease the staff during the (now) twice weekly tv shows, but I note that in the open areas most staff dont even bother switching on the tv's anymore. Its all lip service anyway.
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Gogtjop
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« Reply #23 on: April 11, 2012, 14:38:01 PM »

TV shows?

Are they showing Emmanuel Goldstein, then?
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Faerie
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« Reply #24 on: April 11, 2012, 15:55:23 PM »

TV shows?

Are they showing Emmanuel Goldstein, then?

Nah, a modern version of Hate Hour. 1984 baby....
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Rigil Kent
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2012, 12:12:44 PM »

I think that workers are overprotected by legislation already, and perhaps this is why large companies are sometimes perceived as using underhanded tactics to get rid of people. If your boss/ board doesn't like the way you do your job, or if she has other plans for the business, then it should be her prerogative to let you go without any further need for explanation. Such an arrangement will lead to less loyalty, more caution and improved professionalism and profitability. And, on the flip-side,  it may help to to coax the entrepreneurialy cautious into action.

Rigil
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2012, 15:44:04 PM »

I think that workers are overprotected by legislation already, and perhaps this is why large companies are sometimes perceived as using underhanded tactics to get rid of people. If your boss/ board doesn't like the way you do your job, or if she has other plans for the business, then it should be her prerogative to let you go without any further need for explanation. Such an arrangement will lead to less loyalty, more caution and improved professionalism and profitability. And, on the flip-side,  it may help to to coax the entrepreneurialy cautious into action.

Rigil
I agree. I had to retrench somebody because business is slow. I have less income but I now have to pay out a "retrenchment package". I will defiantly think twice before I appoint somebody again. 
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ingwe
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« Reply #27 on: May 26, 2012, 13:03:59 PM »

Were those in the firing line not from the IT section?

Absa online banking crashes
May 25 2012 at 06:44pm





Clients hoping to cash in their end of month paychecks at Absa on Friday received a nasty surprise after the online banking system fell over.

Failures by SA banks to manage the huge migration of customers to online banking seems to be becoming a regular problem.

FNB suffered a storm of protest in March when its online system suddenly went down - followed by its cellphone banking service the next day.

An Absa spokesperson said on Friday their system engineers were busy working on resolving the problem, but by 14:00 the system was not on line yet after being down all morning.

“We are experiencing technical difficulties. We are awaiting feedback. We are aware it is month end and that a lot of people want to transact,” she said.

An electricity spike was said to have hit FNB’s main production and backup system during their March down time.

City Power, however, vehemently denied its system caused the outage. - I-Net Bridge

http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/absa-online-banking-crashes-1.1305283
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Mefiante
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« Reply #28 on: May 26, 2012, 14:19:04 PM »

Are you thinking malice on the part of a disgruntled ex-IT ABSA employee?

'Luthon64
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« Reply #29 on: May 26, 2012, 14:36:43 PM »

Are you thinking malice on the part of a disgruntled ex-IT ABSA employee?

'Luthon64
Not at all most of those who are going have been sitting at home for the past three months. I would guess that the management, devolopment and running of the new system was farmed (tendered) out and this break down might well be partially as a result?
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Mefiante
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« Reply #30 on: May 26, 2012, 18:07:04 PM »

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (in this case compounded by greed).” Wink

'Luthon64
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« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2012, 08:33:53 AM »

Are you thinking malice on the part of a disgruntled ex-IT ABSA employee?

'Luthon64
Not at all most of those who are going have been sitting at home for the past three months. I would guess that the management, devolopment and running of the new system was farmed (tendered) out and this break down might well be partially as a result?

Not just IT, although they were some of the first to be shown the door, ALL staff are affected, and its still continueing,they're doint it in stages.

Irony though about the IT staff - they've got around 40+ odd vacancies now for Analysts and Developers.... and no experienced people want to work for them, so the positions are being filled with junior people... I'm sitting back and just watching the developments, its quite interesting.

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity (in this case compounded by greed).” Wink

'Luthon64

I attribute it to Karma. She's a b*tch  Grin
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Mefiante
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« Reply #32 on: July 10, 2012, 09:42:29 AM »

Survey: ABSA CEO Maria Ramos rated among business leaders with the worst reputations, scoring lowest in ethical behaviour.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #33 on: July 10, 2012, 10:12:48 AM »

I saw that.... my silence on the subject indicates my opinion.
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« Reply #34 on: July 10, 2012, 10:38:27 AM »

Well, as you probably know, Barclays is currently at the centre of a scandal and ABSA’s association with Barclays doesn’t help much.  The survey was conducted before the Barclays scandal emerged, so one might wonder what Ramos’ rating would be now, given that people, unless expressly cautioned not to do so, habitually adopt a guilt-by-association stance on such matters.  Even so, it would be a bit of an imaginative stretch to believe that Ramos’ silence on the issue was entirely due to her being oblivious of Barclays’ inter-bank lending rate manipulation shenanigans, and hence her being slated seems deserved on this point alone.

'Luthon64
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« Reply #35 on: July 10, 2012, 13:27:20 PM »

I'm seriously hoping I'm not walking into dangerous territory here.

But lets say, hypothetically, I needed to do some 3rd party work that involved a technical part of a certain bank's assets. And I needed to know a key bit of information to make everything work nicely, for the bank, and they were really keen (read: pressuring) to get it all working. Except they couldn't give me this key bit of information because the team capable of providing me with said information no longer existed. All had been "eschewed" out the business.

Now, knowing what key bit of information it is I needed, and knowing that there is no-one guarding that key bit of information, and moreover knowing my money resides in said bank... That makes me, "lose confidence". However, lets say I had seen situations like this before at numerous other institutions (you've heard of and some you probably haven't) in the country, I often realise just how little choice we have in SA about our particular institutional incompetencies.
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« Reply #36 on: July 10, 2012, 13:34:55 PM »

Your money is safe, but you're welcome to move it for ethical reasons... I have... and I work for them.  Undecided

I even closed my Edgars account as ABSA took their lending book over, I am quite happy to pay Steve's competition their dues.

All your investments in ABSA are propping up a UK bank, I'm not a big fan of the colonialists, hence my business is conducted with a purely SA bank.
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Mefiante
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« Reply #37 on: August 20, 2012, 13:10:17 PM »

Less than three weeks after Absa shareholders put the banking group’s management in a corner … an unconfirmed number of senior managers are believed to have been fired by the bank.
Will the full story ever be told?

'Luthon64
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« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2012, 10:21:34 AM »

ABSA demonstrates its amazing compassion. Roll Eyes

'Luthon64
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« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2012, 10:27:56 AM »


It's not just a lack of compassion, it's drooling incompetence on the part of the bank.  Foreclosure should be a last resort because banks often lose money when they auction a property.  I suppose ABSA have fired all their competent managers, and must make do with the lazy drunks that are left.
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« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2012, 13:05:28 PM »

It would have been more professional for the journalist to solicit ABSA's side of the story as well.
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« Reply #41 on: October 02, 2012, 13:51:32 PM »

True, but I wouldn’t be surprised if ABSA simply neglected to respond after being approached for comment.  After all, the bank had already done just that a few months ago when it put its true colours on display by auctioning off a repossessed R200,000 home for the princely sum of R1,000.

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« Reply #42 on: October 02, 2012, 14:47:43 PM »

methinks some corrupt w/banker sees an opportunity to make some money off these auctions: R200000 for R1000 FFS!: who bought it and then resold it and in addition organised a bond for full amount again.
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« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2012, 15:07:03 PM »

I have been to these repossessed property auctions.  The bank has its own representative there to bid on the auction in order to ensure that the property does not get sold for too little to someone else.  What must have happened in this instance is that nobody turned up for the auction except the bank's own representative.  Starting at R 1 000 with no counter bid, it would then have been knocked down to the highest bidder, who would have been the bank itself, at R 1 000.  Who bought the property?  ABSA.  It may sound heartless, but they are acting within the law here.  It is interesting to note that in the US the shortfall on a housing bond is regarded has written off in the event of a repossession.  That is part of the reason why US banks ran into trouble with sub-prime housing loans in 2008.  Perhaps SA law should be changed accordingly.
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« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2012, 15:48:33 PM »

Er, there’s usually a reserve on fixed property (meaning that if a certain minimum bid is not realised, the auctioned lot is not actually sold).  If ABSA failed to set a reserve and then proceeded to buy a property at auction to which it already had full legal title, then there’s something very obviously fishy going on.

(I’m ignoring the allegations brought in the Western Cape High Court against Auction Alliance about collusion and kickbacks, as published recently in the Argus.  More importantly, the SA Registrar of Banks has affirmed in writing that a bank loses legal standing over any assets it transfers into Special Purpose Vehicles.  That is, the bank forfeits all legal claims regarding the bonded property when it securitises a mortgage loan.  If ABSA securitised the home loans before repossessing the properties in either or both of the above cases, the bank is guilty of nothing less than fraud and intimidation through misrepresentation, of which it may not even be aware.  Not that that would be any excuse, and this whole murky issue will be clarified in the High Court very soon.)

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« Reply #45 on: October 03, 2012, 09:44:48 AM »

The way I understand it, these would be "attached" rather than "repossessed" properties.  The bank obtains a court order for the sheriff to attach the property.  The bank's lawyers place a classified legal notice in the newspaper and the sheriff then auctions the property and reimburses the bank/creditor(s).  The bank cannot put a reserve price on it, but may compete in the auction.  It differs from voluntary auctions where a private auctioneer is involved and the seller can set a reserve price or can opt to reject the highest bid.
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« Reply #46 on: October 09, 2012, 20:04:18 PM »

ABSA owes SA public R3.2 billion plus interest from Apartheid days


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« Reply #47 on: December 06, 2012, 09:25:04 AM »

So, ABSA no more... not unexpected.

http://www.fin24.com/Companies/Financial-Services/Absa-to-buy-Barclays-Africa-for-R18bn-20121206

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