FNB clamps down on employees who sold client information to third parties

Financial services group FNB has succeeded in putting its former employee on the dreaded Register of Employees Dishonesty System list (REDS), after he was found to have leaked a client’s bank balance information to third parties.

The employee, Thupetsi Lamola, worked for the bank for 20 years before being charged with misconduct in relation to the unauthorised access to a customer account. He was then found to have provided confidential client information to a third party.

The FNB’s records show that Lamola accessed the unnamed customer’s bank account five times on March 3, 2023.

The customer later that day got a WhatsApp text from a supplier, who indicated they knew a “large payment” had been made in their account. The FNB’s customer disapproved of this WhatsApp and asked the bank to investigate, fearing for their safety. After being fired by the FNB, Lamola approached the Financial Services Tribunal, seeking an order to set aside his blacklisting. The tribunal rejected his defence.

“He was the only employee who accessed the customer’s account on March 3 2023, and such access was not in accordance with the respondent’s processes and procedures. The ineluctable inference is that the applicant provided details of the large payment received by the customer to the supplier,” the tribunal ruled, confirming Lamola’s blacklisting.

“The applicant’s failure to explain why the account had been accessed five times indicated a deliberate intention to breach the respondent’s processes
and procedures.

“The applicant does not dispute having accessed the customer’s account and providing confidential information to the supplier.”

Attempts to get comments from Lamola proved futile.

Lamola’s conduct highlights the risk rogue bank employees present to deep-pocketed clients. The country has seen a surge in kidnapping cases of businesspeople over the last three years.

According to the latest crime statistics, 3 854 kidnapping cases were reported between April and June 2023.

Police Minister Bheki Cele, said criminal syndicates are targeting wealthy businesspeople and their families, seeking lucrative ransom payouts for their safe return.

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