VENTURES AFRICA – Capitec, South Africa’s fastest growing low cost bank, would be offering a banking app in 2013, it was announced on Friday.
This is in addition to its grand plans “to internationalise” the bank in the long term with India as one of the markets it could enter.
Carl Fischer, chief executive of marketing and corporate affairs, said the market could “definitely” expect an app from Capitec in 2013.
“We see it as part of expanding cellphone transacting,” he said. Capitec has only been offering mobile banking for the last 18 months, starting with basic functions initially and evolving towards greater functionality.
But Fischer said that the uptake has been very good, especially among its younger clients.
He said Capitec might not be first to market with these services, but that it has the benefit of hindsight to make the services, such as online banking, really “elementary and easy to use”.
He said that Capitec might not be first to market with these services, but that it has the benefit of hindsight to make the services, such as online banking, really “elementary and easy to use”.
Of the big retail banks in South Africa, FNB offered its banking app to the market first in July 2011.
In August the application reached a quarter of a million active customers, with monthly FNB App activations reaching 40 000.
Standard Bank launched second, bringing its app to the market in June of this year. Nedbank’s App Suite followed in September and Absa launched its app to staff in November, but will bring it to its clients in early 2013.
Capitec’s ambitions to internationalise mean the company would look at making acquisitions overseas or be involved in leveraged buyouts in countries outside the African continent.
“Yes, we do have plans to internationalise our operations. But this is in the long term. At the moment, we are looking at growing the company in South Africa,” CEO Riaan Stassen said recently.
“We will clarify our international strategy in the next 12 months. When we decide to embark on an international strategy full steam, we will certainly look at countries like India and other emerging countries. “The developed world is not in our plans.”
Developed nations have been heavily battered by the global economic downturn.
Capitec is not looking at entering African markets in the near future as its business model would simply not work properly on the continent with its sometimes problematic business terrain and high unemployment rate.
Analysts say the bank’s business model caters for employed people who have jobs but are unbanked.
But South Africa’s big four banks – Absa Group, Standard Bank Group, Nedbank Group and FirstRand – have prioritised African expansion. All of them have a presence in the continent.
In preparation for its international expansion the company appointed Markus Jooste, CEO of Steinhoff International, as a non-executive director last year because he has an international retail “mindset.”
The appointment would help the company when it starts searching for international opportunities.
Stassen said the company is currently focusing on growing organically in South Africa, adding that 28 branches had already been committed in the next six months.
“But in the next three years, we are going to build 50-75 branches across the country,” he said in an interview.