More people asking for debt mercy: Capitec

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JOHANNESBURG – The number of Capitec clients applying for debt review increased by 20 percent in the past financial year.

Fifteen percent more than the previous year has handed in retrenchment letters as supporting documents for their request, the bank said on Tueday as it released results for the finacial year that ended in February.

Despite the tough economic times, the bank reported a solid performance for the financial year.

It added 1.3 million customers to its base.

Capitec Bank CEO Gerrie Fourie said: “Our transactional income grew by 30 percent year on year, which we are quite pleased about.

“One the credit side, the economy was under pressure and we had to manage that very carefully, but we’ve shown growth of about 15 percent so we are fairly happy.”

Fourie said a pre-emptive approach and a segmental analysis of the client book helped it weather the economic storm.

The strategy to boost out-of-branch transacting also yielded results. More than 1.8 million more customers now used its app to bank.

Capitec bolstered its branch base by opening 76 new stores, mostly in higher-end shopping centres.

Fourie said this in no way mean it was no longer “the people’s bank”.

“It’s still in line with our philosophy to offer simplistic banking to all South Africans,” he said.

The country’s third-largest bank had taken a first step towards global expansion, investing more than R290-million on a 40 percent stake in European online consumer lender Cream Finance.

“We saw this as a …  very nice opportunity to learn internationally to understand the lending market in different countries. They currently operate in six countries and they’ve identified a possible 30 countries to go into,” said Fourie. “We are building as digital-banking platform and maybe [in the] long term one can put that together as a new banking proposition to the client.”

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