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South Africa has been able to build one of the most vibrant economies on the African continent. While the growth of the economy is backed by the country’s industries including the mining, manufacturing, service and telecommunication sectors, the role of the country’s financial sectors cannot be undermined.

The financial sector of South Africa is championed by the South African banks, which have emerged among the best in Africa in recent years. In fact, the banking sector of the country has attracted the trust of investors both within and outside the African continent.

As indicated by data from the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), the entire South African banking system has kept an annual average of over 7 % growth rate between 2011 and 2014. By the end of 2014, the banking sector had reached 361 billion US Dollars.

South African Reserve Bank (SARB)

South African banks and the banking sector are controlled by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), which is the country’s central bank. The Reserve Bank has its primary purpose as ensuring that price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth is achieved and maintained in the country.

The reserve bank began in 1921, so many years the establishment of the Lombaard Bank in Cape Town as far back as 1793.  Unlike most other central banks in the world, the central bank has its shares open to shareholders other than the government.

The establishment of the Reserve Bank came after the Second World War, when the banks needed to maintain their viability through establishing a single bank that would take charge of issuing banknotes and taking over the gold held by commercial banks.

Since its establishment, the bank has been able to regulate banks in South Africa. It has as well played a role of setting monetary policy for the country. More so, ensuring the smoothing of the South African interest rate has been the bank’s important responsibility.

Standard Bank (Standard Bank Co Za)

One major bank in South Africa is the standard bank. The bank is one of the largest financial institutions in Africa, going even above the Bank of Africa. The bank which also trades as Stanbic Bank forms the largest banking group in Africa.

The Standard Bank SA Internet Banking is an attestation of how the bank has been able to evolve and adapt to changes and technology. The bank’s heavy internet presence has ensured that it provides one of the best internet banking in the country. Its ability to evolve with time is what has kept the bank going for so long.

With a history of over 150 years, Standard bank SA offers services that cover commercial banking, investment banking, and investment management. As at 2010, the bank had a net income of 1.6 billion Dollars. By 2015, the bank has an asset of 164.7 billion US Dollar.

Today, the bank operates in 30 countries of the world including the African countries of Nigeria (where it operates as Stanbic Bank), Uganda, Malawi, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire. In other parts of the world, it operates in USA, United Kingdom, and the UAE.

Other South African Banks

South African banking system is made of so many banks. While some of the banks are locally controlled, others are foreign controlled and others are branches of foreign banks.

One of such local banks in the country is African bank. The bank is one of the retail banks in South Africa which offers services such as loans, debit and credit cards, saving investments and checking. African Bank Loan services can as well be in the form of personal loans.

Other South African banks that offer local services are African Development Bank, Absna Bank, African Development Bank, FirstRand Bank, Nedbank Limited, and Tedbank Limited.

Foreign-controlled banks in South Africa include Barclays Africa group, which is a member of the Barclays Bank; Albaraka Bank Limited, which is an Islamic bank with its base in the Saudi Arabia; and Mercantile Bank Limited.

Banks that are branches of other foreign banks in the country include Bank of China, State Bank of India, Royal Bank of Scotland, Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and China Construction Bank Corporation.

South African banking system has thrived on its services including its loan services. The Prime Rate in South Africa from 1957 and 2016 has been on the average of 12.38 Percent. The highest point of the interest rate was 25.50 % while the lowest was 5.50 % in August 1998 and December 1962 respectively. Between July and August 2016, the interest rate was 10.50 %.