Aug. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd., South Africa’s fastest-growing bank, can maintain its rate of adding at least 50 branches a year for the next five years, Chief Executive Riaan Stassen said.
The lender, which provides unsecured loans and transactional savings accounts, also aims to double the number of point-of-sale terminals it installs to 5,000 a month over the next two years, he said. Capitec has 10,000 point-of-sale terminals, electronic devices that allow clients to withdraw cash, check balances or make loan repayments, in South Africa.
“There is a huge opportunity to broaden banking,” Stassen said in an interview at the company’s head office in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, yesterday. Branches, which cost about 1 million rand ($138,000) each to open, become profitable within six months of starting, he said.
Capitec, which has 470 outlets across Africa’s largest economy and 3.25 million active customers, adds about 90,000 clients a month by offering transactional accounts that have less complicated fee structures than those of larger rivals Standard Bank Group Ltd., Absa Group Ltd. and FirstRand Ltd. Nedbank Group Ltd., South Africa’s fourth-largest bank, added 94,000 new retail clients in the six months through June.
The lender, which adds 200 workers a month to the 6,000 it currently employs, is looking at improving “efficiencies” that will further drive down its costs over the next year, Stassen said, declining to elaborate on the initiatives. African Bank Investments Ltd., based in Johannesburg, is South Africa’s largest provider of unsecured loans.
‘Protect The Market’
Over the next year, Capitec will assess how customers behave with an increased loan facility of up 120,000 rand over a 60 month period at an average interest rate of 22 percent before considering whether loan sizes and periods will increase, he said. This follows African Bank’s strategy of increasing credit over longer periods to its best clients.
“We’re not rushing in,” Stassen said. “We need to protect the market from itself.”
Capitec, started in 2001 amid the collapse of small-loans provider Unifer Holdings Ltd., is “very resistant to be taken over by a financial institution,” Stassen said, adding that the lender aligns itself more with retailers.
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