A persistent problem in Africa is the financial-inclusion deficit. With 11 million citizens in South Africa alone being either underbanked or unbanked, the need to gather them into the banking fold is urgent. Recognizing this imperative, innovative teams such as Nedbank’s Retail and Business Banking have prioritised customer-centric digital avenues to reach more customers, entrenching themselves as the money experts who do good and give clients back the gift of time.
In any economy, banks play the critical role of re-allocating capital, from surplus areas into deficit areas. It is a role that sees them take deposits from the public and use the same to issue loans to businesses, both large and small. But that process hasn’t been happening much in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, banks, motivated by risk-aversion, have been funneling liquidity into the coffers of governments through government-issued debt securities. SSA banks must get back to the business of lending to the private sector if they are to escalate shareholder returns.
Nedbank is among South Africa’s top four banks, offering a range of wholesale and retail banking services to an equally varied clientele. In our interview, three of its top executives, Ciko Thomas, Mike Brown and Mfundo Nkuhlu, discuss a bank that aims to use its financial expertise “to do good for individuals, families, businesses and society”.
Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. Mike Brown, Group Chief Executive Officer of Nedbank on the recent political turbulence in South Africa, the challenges facing the bank and Nedbank’s future plans.
Controversy involving a country’s top politicians often trickles down to its vulnerable financial sector; South African banks have joined the list of victims of decisions made by their political leadership that have caused credit ratings to plunge and economic prospects to tumble, posing a challenge to the healthy internal conditions of most banks. Will a bank crisis accompany the political one?
Africa is known as a resource-rich continent. It is now also becoming rich in growing consumer markets. Multinationals, hotels and even luxury-goods retailers are setting up shop across the continent, seeing it as the last great emerging opportunity.
In recent years, the reputation of South Africa’s banking industry has blossomed remarkably. It has become a well-regulated system that has seen large foreign players consistenty increase their presence within the country, while