Standard Bank has dismissed more than 30 employees for alleged irregularities in activating new bank accounts. This includes the creation of ghost accounts, which require minimal deposits, to help reach performance targets, Fin24 reported.
Two former staff members told the publication that the Covid-19 pandemic had made it particularly difficult to sign up new customers – and thus earn a commission – with bank members putting their own money into already activated accounts.
The bankers also reportedly targeted indigent workers and matric pupils who they knew would not be able to put money into their own accounts. The workers also pointed to management within the bank who they said were aware of these bogus accounts and actively encouraged the monthly targets.
In response to queries from BusinessTech, Standard Bank said it has a zero-tolerance stance relating to fraud of any kind.
“As a matter of course the bank regularly conducts enquiries and investigations to manage staff conduct risk. Where evidence of fraud or improper behaviour by our staff is suspected we will investigate. The bank follows a rigorous process when investigating any alleged impropriety.”
These processes are aligned to the South African Labour Relations Regulations, the bank said, and that it would act in the interests of its staff and customers at all times.
“We are currently investigating 67 individuals who have not acted with the duty and care associated with their office. The incidents are largely confined to one local market in the Western Cape.
“Any staff member found to have contravened the bank’s rules and regulations will be subject to a formal disciplinary process, regardless of the position they hold within the bank. As this matter forms part of a formal process we are not in a position to comment further and will allow for the relevant courts and structures provided for by the law to make the necessary determinations.
“To clarify, the incident is isolated and has not impacted Standard Bank’s ability to provide class-leading affordable banking products to its clients.”