It's business as usual at the Capitec Bank branch in Campus Square in Melville, Johannesburg – despite Viceroy Research's accusations that the bank is embroiled in underhanded business practices.
The report called on Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba and the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) to place the bank under curatorship, alleging that it's a matter of time before the JSE-listed bank goes bust.
The mood at the branch seemed calm – both among staff and the customers queueing in different sections of the packed bank as they waited to be assisted by consultants.
It looked as if people were unaware of the reports, and there was certainly no sense of panic among customers.
Viceroy in its report accused Capitec of approving loans to delinquent customers, in order to repay existing loans that they would otherwise default on.
'We believe that the South African Reserve Bank and the Minister of Finance should immediately place Capitec into curatorship.'— Khaya Sithole (@CoruscaKhaya) January 30, 2018
As dramatic opening statements go - #Viceroy is on steroids😂😂😂
And they probably don't know who our Finance Minister is🙈🙈🙈
Viceroy Research is telling us that Capitec is a loan shark; but for real now, which bank is not? All banks dig their claws deep into the backs of working class people, whilst denying them of the ultimate ability to own any property. Mxm The solution is a State Bank, period!— IG: @MbuyiseniNdlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 30, 2018
However, when a HuffPost journalist attempted to secure a loan at the Capitec branch, a quick review of his credit rating by a bank consultant proved him firmly ineligible – which seems to contradict Viceroy's claims that Capitec is eager to approve loans for clients who won't be able to repay them.
The consultant explained the process Capitec follows before granting a loan:
1. The first thing that the bank looks at is your payslip, to determine how much you take home every month. If your income varies because of commission or overtime, it calculates an average based on your income over a period; usually between three and six months.
2. The bank will then look at your bank statement to determine how much you already owe, and if you'll be able to afford a new loan on top of other financial obligations.
3. It also looks at the money you have left after all deductions and expenses each month, to evaluate how much you can afford to pay on a new loan. Information on how reliable you were in paying your previous and/or existing loans will also be used, to determine whether you pay your loans on time. To them, this is an indication of how you will repay the new loan.
Capitec has been one of South Africa's best-performing banks in recent years. In September 2017, it overtook Nedbank to become the country's fourth-largest lender by value.