Dlamini-Zuma has highlighted the need for financial inclusion for marginalised groups. Image: DWYPD

Dlamini-Zuma initiates new bank in South Africa

South Africa is on the brink of introducing a new bank that was kick-started by a ministerial launch earlier this year.


Dlamini-Zuma has highlighted the need for financial inclusion for marginalised groups. Image: DWYPD

New bank the SA Innovative Financial Services Cooperative (SAIFSC) is gearing up to commence operations in July, pending approval from the Prudential Authority.

This was announced by the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities (DWYPD) at the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus (MPWC) meeting last week.

The MPWC confirmed the SAIFSC’s application package is currently going through a vetting process after being submitted to the Prudential Authority.

Last September, DWYPD Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma highlighted the need for financial inclusion for marginalised groups such as women, youth, and persons with disabilities.

This led to the initiation of SAIFSC.

New bank sparks interest

The department said that women in agriculture, mining, tourism, ICT, construction and energy have expressed an interest in joining SAIFSC.

Zuma was not present at the 7 March MPWC, which was chaired by the deputy chair of the ANC Women’s League, Kate Bilankulu.

The department clarified at the gathering that the new bank is not a cooperative bank. Rather, it is a financial services cooperative owned and operated by its members, who are also the depositors and borrowers.

This will distinguish it from Postbank, which is set to become South Africa’s first state bank.

Postbank’s licensing process is expected to be finalised in the 2024/2025 financial year following the enactment of the Postbank Amendment Bill.

Serving poor communities

SAIFSC aims to offer savings and credit products tailored to the needs of its members, with a focus on associations working with marginalised groups.

The DWYPD said SAIFSC would cater to members operating in poor, rural areas.

Once operational, SAIFSC will join the landscape of financial services cooperatives in South Africa. Among these are the South African Savings and Credit Cooperative, the South African Cooperative Banking Association and the National Association of Cooperative Financial Institutions of South Africa.

According to Bizcommunity, data indicates that there are currently 41 banks in South Africa. These are made up of 14 local commercial banks, four foreign-controlled local banks, 13 foreign banks, three mutual banks and seven cooperative banks.

In order to qualify for SAIFSC’s bank application, a minimum of 200 members and an initial deposit of R100 000 are required.

So far, SAIFSC has successfully enlisted 429 active members and accumulated a balance of R278,698.