South African banks and the unbanked: Progress and prospects

Stellenbosch Working Paper Series No. WP02/2004
 
Publication date: 2004
 
Author(s):
[protected email address] (Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
 
Abstract:

Consideration is given to what the big four South African banks have done since the late nineties to open up their lending facilities to the unbanked, taking cognisance of the trends internationally, finally leading to a conclusion as to the most appropriate strategy for the future. The banks' focus has been on lending to low-income salaried individuals, making use of the downscaling strategy. Inappropriate credit technologies in this very competitive market segment led to a serious setback in 2002 when two bank micro-lenders had to terminate their operations. In contrast to their enthusiasm for the low-income market, the banks have shown a lack of interest to engage micro-entrepreneur lending, but this is to an extent vindicated by the international experience. Establishing banks dedicated to micro-finance by means of specialised public/private sector partnerships emerges as the most appropriate strategy to engage with micro-entrepreneurs. The big four banks' focus in micro-lending is expected to remain on consumption related loans for low-income salaried individuals.

 
JEL Classification:

G21, O16, G28

Keywords:

banking, credit, South Africa

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BER Weekly

13 September 2021
It was a data-heavy week in SA, with the 2021Q2 real GDP data indicating that the economy had better-than-expected recovery momentum in the first half of the year. While growth remained solid in the second quarter, both the survey and actual data released last week revealed the significant impact that the range of shocks at the start of the third quarter...

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