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Gordhan: Banks must be more inclusive

Aug 23 2011 11:09 Sapa

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Johannesburg - Lack of access to banks is still a big problem in South Africa and must be addressed by the financial sector, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday.

"Access to banking remains a key priority... there has been improvement, but more can certainly be done," Gordhan told the Banking Association of SA's second annual banking summit.

He was aware of innovative developments in banking, such as mobile banking in rural areas, but these needed to be reinforced and sped up.

"These innovations must surely make it possible to bank more than 70% of South Africans by 2013," he said.

Gordhan said high bank charges were also still a concern.

Although there was evidence the banking sector was moving in the right direction, it might "need some help to cross the threshold", he said.

Asked whether banks should be nationalised, Gordhan answered: "We are a democracy... we don't lock people up for expressing what might sound like heretical views.

"As a government we have made it very clear our views... the banks are there, they'll work."

Gordhan encouraged banks to be more supportive of small and medium businesses.

"A critical area where banks can make an important contribution... is in the area of lending to small and medium business."

He said more resources should be directed to this sector to promote entrepreneurship and to ensure small and medium businesses made a more meaningful contribution to the economy.

pravin gordhan  |  financial sector  |  banks
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