Banks in South Africa

South African Bank’s Overview

South Africa is one of the great examples of the organized banking sector with a steady economic growth just like the United States and has various kind of banks like Mutual Banks, Co-operative Banks, Foreign Banks, Private Banks including Commercial Banks, Merchant BanksMerchant BanksMerchant Bank is a company that provides services like fundraising activities like IPOs, FPOs, loans, underwriting. They only deal with companies and more and Other Banks operating therein with more than R5 Trillion assets. These banks in South Africa offer retail and commercial banking services along with merchant banking, investment bankingInvestment BankingInvestment banking is a specialized banking stream that facilitates the business entities, government and other organizations in generating capital through debts and equity, reorganization, mergers and acquisition, more, and wealth management services across the globe.


South Africa is a developing country but has a well-developed and sophisticated banking system which primarily helps to provide ease in doing business. Availability of efficient banking channels and wide banking networks make this country internationally feasible in providing global banking services and one can find a bunch of prominent regional, national, and international banks effectively operating in South Africa.

RAND is the currency of South Africa which signs as “R”. The South African Reserve Bank is a Central Bank of the Republic of South Africa and it was established in 1921. It has a head office in Pretoria of South Africa. The primary purpose of the bank is to achieve and maintain price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth of South Africa. Together with other institutes it also plays a pivotal role in ensuring financial stability within the country.  

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List of Top 10 Banks in South Africa

  1. Standard Bank
  2. FirstRand
  3. Barclays Africa Group Limited
  4. Nedbank
  5. Investec
  6. Capitec
  7. African Bank
  8. Grindrod Bank
  9. Mercantile Bank
  10. Bidvest Bank

Based on the financial statementsFinancial StatementsFinancial statements are written reports prepared by a company's management to present the company's financial affairs over a given period (quarter, six monthly or yearly). These statements, which include the Balance Sheet, Income Statement, Cash Flows, and Shareholders Equity Statement, must be prepared in accordance with prescribed and standardized accounting standards to ensure uniformity in reporting at all more of various companies for the year ending 2017, we hereby discuss the details of this bank on the basis of the size of their asset.

#1. Standard Bank

The Standard Bank Group is the largest African banking group by total assets of around R2 Trillion (USD 153 Billion), with a market cap of approximately R310 Billion (USD 23 Billion), offering a range of banking and related financial services across sub-Saharan Africa. The Group has 155 years’ operating history in South Africa with headquarter located in Johannesburg and employs more than 54,000 people.

The Group has produced strong financial results at the end of the last financial year on 31st December 2017 like a 14% growth in headline earnings to R26.3 Billion with a 17.1% Return on Equity. The Group is operating globally and primarily provides services of a) Personal & Business BankingBusiness BankingBusiness banking refers to a bank or financial institution that focuses solely on businesses and corporate clients, offering products such as business loans, asset management, and electronic fund transfers that are tailored to their specific more i.e. banking and other financial services to individual customers and SMESMESME (Small and Medium Enterprises) symbolizes a business which has capital, assets, staff, etc. within a certain limit as categorized by each nation. As per the legal structure of the country, organizations are categorized as per the size and scale of their respective more in Africa. b) Corporate & Investment Banking services in, for, and across Africa. c) Wealth Management Services to manage, grow, and ensure the wealth of their customers and d) Other Banking Services.

#2. FirstRand

FirstRand was created in its current form in 1998 through a merger of the Anglo American Corporation of South Africa Limited and RMB Holdings(RMBH). It was headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, and employs more than 44,000 people. It is the second-largest bank in South Africa with total assets of around R1.2 Trillion (USD 92 Billion). FirstRand’s portfolio of integrated financial services businesses comprises FNB, RMB, Aldermore and Ashburton Investments.

The Group operates in South Africa, certain markets in sub-Saharan Africa and the UK, and offers a universal set of transactional, lending, investment, and insurance products and services. The Group has accomplished the total comprehensive income of R28.79 Billion for the year ending as on 30th June 2018 i.e. 19% rise from the previous year and 23% as Return on EquityReturn On EquityReturn on Equity (ROE) represents financial performance of a company. It is calculated as the net income divided by the shareholders equity. ROE signifies the efficiency in which the company is using assets to make more.

#3. Barclays Africa Group Limited

It is formerly known as ABSA Group Limited. Barclays Africa Group Limited is the financial services provider in Africa offering personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth, and investment management services.

It is a wholly-owned subsidiaryA Wholly-owned SubsidiaryWhen a company’s almost all of the outstanding shares are owned by another company (parent) then it can be said that it is a wholly-owned subsidiary of that company and it is controlled by the parent company. For example, Walt Disney Entertainment owns 100% of Marvel Entertainment which produces more of Barclays and it’s having headquarter in Johannesburg, South Africa, and also employs more than 39,000 people. It is the third-largest bank in South Africa with total assets of around R1.1 Trillion (USD 85 Billion) as of 2017.

#4. Nedbank

It is one of the largest Banks in South Africa with Market Capitalisation of R128 Billion as on 31st December 2017. They offer a wide range of wholesale and retail bankingRetail BankingRetail banking or personal banking refers to the financial services offered by the financial institutions exclusively to the individual clients. The consumer banking provides personal loan, savings account, debit cards, credit cards, locker, more services, growing insurance, assets management, and wealth management services in 39 countries around the world through its 2000 plus branches and employs more than 31,000 employees. It’s headquarter is located in Sandton. It has total assets of around R892 Billion (USD 69 Billion) as of 2017 and comes on the fourth rank.

#5. Investec

Investec is an international specialist banking & asset management firm. It provides a range of financial products and services including investment, assets and wealth management, retail, corporate, investment banking to the clients’ base in Europe, Africa, and Asia-Pacific.

It was headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa and 8,200 people are employed by the company worldwide. It is a first South African company who list in both London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges. It has total assets of around R415 Billion (USD 32 Billion) as of 2017 

#6. Capitec

Capitec is a retail bank in South Africa having headquarter in Western Cape and operating through 800 retail branches nationwide with 9.9 Million active clients. Near about 11,400 employees are working with the bank. It has total assets of around R87 Billion (USD 6.7 Billion). The company also provides commercial and investment banking activities in Africa and as per audited financial statements of 2018, the headline earnings are up 18% to R4.46 Billion and Return on Equity is 27%.

#7. African Bank

African Bank Limited is a private sector financial service provider retail bank offering a wide range of products and services to the consumers of South Africa including loans, investment, debit, and credit card services. It is a subsidiary company of African Bank Holdings Limited. It’s headquarter is located in Johannesburg, South Africa. African Bank Limited has total assets of around R32 Billion (USD 2.5 Billion) and gross earning of R5.7 Billion as on 31st September 2017.

#8. Grindrod Bank

It is a private sector commercial bank in South Africa licensed as a “Locally Controlled Financial Institution” by the Reserve Bank of South Africa. It was founded in 1994 and has offices in Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, and Pretoria of South Africa.

Grindrod Bank primarily provides corporate finance, investment banking, corporate lending, deposit, and property-related products and services to private, corporate, and institutional clients. The Bank has total assets of around R16.68 Billion (USD 1.3 Billion) as of 31st December 2017.

#9. Mercantile Bank

Mercantile Bank is a commercial bank founded in 1965 and having it’s headquartered in Sandown. It is a fully owned subsidiary company of Mercantile Bank Holdings Limited. Mercantile Bank Holdings Limited is a bank controlling an investment holding company with (100%) vesting in its Portuguese parent company, Caixa Geral de Depositos (“CGD”).

Mercantile Bank provides a wide range of international and local banking services to the business community with a segment focus on the Portuguese market, whereas the bank’s main focus is on business, commercial and alliance banking activities. The Bank has total assets of around R12.8 Billion (USD 984 Million) as of 31st December 2017.

#10. Bidvest Bank

Bidvest Bank is a private sector commercial bank in the Republic of South Africa licensed as a “Locally Controlled Financial Institution” by the Reserve Bank of South Africa. It was founded in 1998 and has the head office in Johannesburg of South Africa. The bank is a 100% subsidiary of its parent company, Bidvest Group Limited, a South African-based international business conglomerateConglomerateA conglomerate is a company or corporation made up of different businesses that operate in various industries or sectors, often unrelated. It holds a stake in multiple smaller companies that choose to manage their business separately to avoid the risk of being in a single market, thus, taking advantage of more. The bank focuses on providing various retail banking products across South Africa. The total asset’s position of the bank is increased by 13% to R7.8 Billion (around USD 600 Million) as of June 2017.

We hope you liked this guide to top Banks in South Africa. If you are looking forward to making a career in Banking, then you can check out some of the awesome resources –

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