TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA has become the first new bank to receive an operating licence from the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) since 1999.
The bank, set to become a full service digital bank, currently operates money-transfer services in partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores. It intends to launch its first banking product in the second quarter of next year.
It will leverage off existing partnerships to set up and operate self-service kiosks – similar to ATMs facilitating account registrations and transactions – across stores nationwide, in lieu of opening brick-and-mortar branches. Sandile Shabalala, chief executive of Commonwealth Bank SA, said the bank’s current partnership with Pick n Pay gives it over 700 points of presence in urban and rural areas across the country, as well as more than 10 000 till points, from which potential customers can deposit and withdraw money.
He said the bank’s fully digital model and structure would enable it to offer cost-effective banking solutions, but declined to provide details regarding the nature of the bank’s potential offerings as well as the costs of TymeDigital’s accounts or transactions fees.
Coenraad Jonker, a group executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and chairman of the board of TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA, said the bank propositions centres around value for money. “We believe that we will be in a position to provide customers with superior value for money. There’s always a focus around transactional banking and fees [but], where we can say confidently that we will be a winning solution for the market, is in the cost of borrowing and in making sure that we drive the interest rates that customers pay on their loans down in this country. We think there is significant room to provide South Africans with a better proposition.”
The bank will focus on emerging middle class consumers and small- and micro businesses, which it says are underserved.
Tyme (Take Your Money Everywhere) was founded in June 2012 and acquired by CBA in January 2015. African Rainbow Capital, chaired by Patrice Motsepe, holds a 10% stake in the business as a strategic empowerment partner.
Jonker acknowledged that CBA’s investment in South Africa may appear countercyclical and affirmed its commitment to continuing investing in the country through TymeDigital. He said the Australian bank is encouraged by the strength of South Africa’s institutions – particularly Sarb – as well the quality and profitability of the banking sector and quality of the business sector.