Capitec Bank has become the third biggest bank in South Africa in terms of customer numbers, having shot past FNB and now Nedbank in the rankings.
In its interim results for the six months ended August 2016, Capitec reported that it had increased its active clients to 7.9 million – up 1.2 million from the 6.7 million reported in 2015.
This growth was attributed to a combination of increased branch distribution in key malls and a strong brand proposition of simplified banking and value for money, the bank said.
More than half of the acquired clients signed up with the bank in the past 6 months – a period which all the banks described as economically challenging.
Capitec’s boosted numbers now place the bank ahead of Nedbank, which at June 2016 had 7.7 million clients – and even further ahead of First National Bank, which fell to fifth among the big banks in South Africa earlier in 2016.
According to Nedbank’s interim results to June 2016, the group managed to grow banked retail clients to 7.7 million – while FNB said that it added 200,000 customers since last reporting to reach 7.4 million active customers at the end of June 2016.
FNB noted, however, that “a race to achieve customer numbers without a measure of customer value” is not its primary goal. “Our business focus is on the quality of customers we have attracted and retained,” the group said.
Absa, still trading as Barclays Africa, noted in its interim results for 2016 that it added 410,000 new-to-bank customers in the first half of the year in South Africa, and now serves 8.9 million customers.
However, this number is down from the 9.4 million customers reported at the end of 2015.
Standard Bank does not publish its customer numbers in interim reports and did not respond to requests for the number by the time of publication. At the end of 2015, it had 11.6 million customers, and has a secure lead in the market.
South African banking customers (June 2016)
|Bank||FY 2015/16 customers||Interim 2016 customers||Change|
|Standard Bank||11.6 million||–||–|
|Absa Bank||9.4 million||8.9 million||-5.3%|
|Capitec||7.3 million||7.9 million||+8.2%|
|Nedbank||7.4 million||7.7 million||+7.3%|
|FNB||7.2 million||7.4 million||+2.8%|
According to ratings agency S&P Global, the South African banking industry is set for a major shake-up in 2017 as Capitec is expected to continue to disrupt the market, particularly in the middle market banking space.
Capitec started out as a microlender and then secured a banking licence before positioning itself as a low-cost operator that made banking easier, faster and cheaper to low-income consumers.