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Banks and insurance companies are increasingly being slated on social media for decisions they make that are within the law but plainly unfair. These include instances where major banks have auctioned people’s homes for as little as R10. More recently, Momentum changed its mind after initially declining to pay out a life-insurance claim to the family of a man killed in a hail of bullets, because he had high glucose levels he had not disclosed. Now the champions of a draft bill aimed at policing conduct of these companies say the only decisions that will be legal in future are those that will be fair to both consumers and financial institutions. The Conduct of Financial Institutions Bill was published by the National Treasury for comment in December. “Historically the sector looked at what is legal as opposed to what is fair. What this bill seeks to do is to say: your legality now relies on whether your decision was fair. Even if they are right in terms of contract laws, financial in...

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