When the then little-known VBS Mutual Bank announced its presence outside the Venda, Limpopo, region with a rather ridiculous R7-million loan to a 74-year-old politician, former president Jacob Zuma, it should have become obvious that its processes were in need of closer scrutiny. Even more so when that loan was twice its annual net profit for that past financial year. Very few lenders of any credibility would have approved such a loan, no matter the relationship - and in this case with an outgoing president. How does a pensioner - and former public servant at that - service a debt that roughly translates to a monthly bill of more than R70000 a month for a period of 20 years, and that's just my rough calculation? A high-street lender would find it hard to justify. But the fundamental issue with VBS was that it was supposed to be a mutual bank. Risking about R7-million on a single individual should have raised alarm bells with regulators and posed questions about the average loan siz...

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