Sunday, November 05, 2006

Home Loan Nightmare

Don't expect any customer service when you get your home loan from FNB. Never mind that it's the biggest purchase most individuals will ever make, and it's a steady and lucrative source of income for the bank; still, they reserve the right to ignore your enquiries or push you around. They don't care: it's not their money.
I always thought the FNB logo depicted a tree. Actually, its an organizational diagram of the levels of complexity you have to go through to get anywhere. Let's review my home loan as an example:
  • They told the bond broker that they had approved only R590,000, and then sent her documentation that indicated the full amount of R610,000.
  • They didn't read the offer to purchase and put in the names of other lawyers.
  • They sent the inspector to the wrong address.
  • The inspector had to phone the lawyers to get the name of the property.
  • The final grant states: "The property must be insured for a minimum amount of R490,858.50 and monthly premiums will be advised following registration of the bond. Insurance cover is to be effective from the date of registration of the bond" but on their web site they state that there are two different kind of cover ("Home Owners Cover" and "Home Loan Protection Plan") and that the first kind isn't required for sectional title purchases such as mine. So which of the two types are they referring to when talking about "Home Loan Insurance"? Where do they get that number from, anyway?
When I asked for clarification on what is required and what it would cost, they couldn't or wouldn't say. I was referred to Outsurance. Why is it only possible to advise me on the monthly premiums after the bond has been registered, when it's too late to do anything about them? Are they insane?
Their chatty but vague web site also mentions a whole bunch of additional home buying expenses, but that list isn't half of it. See what other creative accounting options the law firm has come up with.
Thank goodness I didn't have to deal with the bank directly on most of these issues, or I'd be a raving lunatic by this stage. The only sane thing I did was employ the services of a very competent and patient bond broker. Go Melissa!

Update 24 November 2006: A very helpful lady called Cheryl phoned to say that FNB is trying to figure out what went wrong, and they will get someone to call me to clarify things. It's good to know they don't let these matters go without attempting to sort things out. Go FNB!

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