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With fewer employees, lower administrative expenses and less need for costly back-office technology, the South African challengers hope they can woo customers with fees as low as zero, higher rates on savings and cheaper credit. While all three declined to put a figure on their expected cost-to-income ratios, four industry executives who spoke on condition of anonymity said they had worked out efficiency ratios of 25 percent to 30 percent. That compares with nearly 60 percent for the incumbents cufflinks online uk online.
“I have been dumbfounded at how low the cost can be,” said Bank Zero’s co-founder Michael Jordaan, best known for turning FirstRand’s retail banking operation into the most profitable in South Africa cufflinks online uk online. “Our technology cost is 1 percent of 1 percent of the annual tech budget at one of the big banks.”. Jordaan’s comments were largely echoed by senior executives at TymeBank and Discovery Bank, which is part of insurance company Discovery Ltd (DSYJ.J). The major banks have taken note..
“There’s anxiety in executive committee meetings about what’s about to happen,” an executive at one of the big banks said. “Your regular bank will be happy with a cost-to-income ratio of 50 percent.” cufflinks online uk online. Nevertheless, customers have proved reluctant to switch banks in South Africa in the past. Standard Chartered, for example, tried and failed to take on the big banks in the early 2000s with online lender 20Twenty. Improvements in technology since and a wider acceptance of online services, however, mean the challengers may have a better chance this time. Similar ventures in markets such as the United Kingdom are slowly making inroads..
More than a million people now use Monzo’s current account and money management mobile app while money transfer firm Revolut has 3.2 million customers across Europe – and both have broken through the billion dollar valuation mark. Still, luring customers away from a deeply entrenched South African banking sector will be a major challenge, and the big banks are unlikely to cede customers without a fight cufflinks online uk online. South African banks escaped the global financial crisis partly thanks to regulations that stopped them buying the U.S. mortgage-backed assets that triggered the meltdown, as well as a more cautious approach to borrowing..
Headline earnings, the main gauge of profitability, have increased more than two-fold at the big five banks since 2011 to a combined $5 billion cufflinks online uk online. Their average return on equity, a measure of income generated with shareholders’ money, stands at 18.6 percent, nearly double global peers – many of which are already cutting costs as they grapple with digital newcomers. South African banks have also been cutting jobs, closing branches and encouraging customers to use digital channels as part of their efforts to lower cost-to-income ratios..