South Africa’s African Bank has been named South African Bank of the Year by the Banker magazine, the award citing the Bank’s complex business and risk models as helping steer businesses through the financial crisis.

Africa Bank is the biggest unsecured lender in South Africa – a country widely considered to be relying too heavily on the use of unsecured loans, with this type of financing growing quickly across the country.  Unsecured lending currently accounts for 131 billion rand ($14.95 billion) of South Africa’s 1.36 trillion rand ($155 billion) outstanding receivables.

As such the decision to grant the award for Bank of the Year to an unsecured lender is somewhat surprising.

However, the Banker made the award – which was handed over in a ceremony in London – based on the Bank’s stability through-out the financial crisis, noting that its business and risk models are serving to increase credit responsibility across the South African financing sector.

“African Bank’s business model has been robust through the recent financial crisis and provided through the cycle profitability and attractive returns,” the Banker said in making the Award.

“The group has rolled out innovative products to make it easier for customers to access responsible credit and widened the bank’s distribution network through the establishment of kiosks and carve outs in its retail division which has helped drive the growth in loans,” the citation added.

Receiving the award on behalf of the company, Tami Sokutu, an executive director at African Bank Investments congratulated the Bank’s employees, and thanked customers for their continued loyalty to Africa Bank.  She went on to underline: “We remain cognisant of our customers’ requirements and needs as we assist to enhance their lives through the provision of responsible credit.”


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