Banking

South Africa Banking

With both performance and assets outstripping the continent’s other large emerging markets in Egypt, Nigeria and Morocco, South Africa’s banking sector is the biggest and most developed on the continent. The economy has been shaken by the global financial crisis: the rand has seen unusual volatility, and demand from key markets in Europe and Asia has dropped. However, the country’s banks have been well buffered, and oversight is robust, with South Africa regularly ranking at the top of global tables for the quality of its regulatory framework. Bank margins were still strong in 2013 and were boosted by higher dollar lending across the continent, as banks hedged to prepare for the increasing interest rate cycle. Bank sector assets rose 9% year-on-year and almost broke the $378.8bn level at the end of 2013, representing more than half of total financial services industry assets. South Africa’s banks have shown resilience through economic and cyclical challenges and are expected to keep widening their footprint on the continent in the next few years.

This chapter contains interviews with Gill Marcus, Governor, South African Reserve Bank; and Jim Cowles, CEO for Europe, Middle East & Africa, Citigroup.