Parliament passes Postbank law
Cape Town - Legislation providing for the Postbank division of the SA Post Office to become a registered commercial bank was approved in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The South African Postbank Limited Bill provides, among other things, for the incorporation of the Postbank division as a legal person, with the aim of:
- conducting the business of a bank that will encourage and attract savings;
- rendering transactional services and lending facilities through, among others, the existing infrastructure of the SA Post Office;
- developing into a bank of first choice, particularly in the rural and lower income markets, as well as in communities with little or no access to commercial banking services and facilities; and
- providing affordable banking services.
In terms of the bill, the SA Post Office will be the sole member and shareholder of the company.
The company will be registered as a bank after it has satisfied the requirements of the Banks Act.
Introducing the bill, Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda said the Postbank as a company would be managed by its own board with all the necessary corporate governance requirements and mechanisms that would ensure accountability.
"Importantly, the Postbank will be brought within the ambit of the financial and banking regulatory environment as regulated by the Registrar of Banks."
The Postbank would become a key player in promoting universal and affordable access to banking services.
"It will ensure that the rates and the charges of the Postbank take into consideration the needs of the people in the lower income groups," Nyanda said.
The Democratic Alliance's Niekie van der Berg opposed the bill, saying it was not the state's role to provide banking services to the public.
The record of state-owned enterprises was generally poor and the Postbank was unlikely to be an exception, he said.
Banking is a tough market to get into, the big four are pushing hard to bank the low income market and they atleast have reputation behind them. The post office has presence in terms of distribution but it will be a long journey to convince the low income members of society that they offer banking services aswell, reputation is key if money is involved. Low income lending? Lets not even get started with that one; all the best to Postbank, in the market they want to play in it will be needed, rewards may be reaped only after many many years...