The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2021 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Can the local banks hold on?

When their country was isolated by sanctions, South African banks had it easy. Now foreign competitors are eating away at their share of the most profitable business. Sam Swiss reports.

The world's their oyster

Focus is the buzzword

Manuel takes the long view

South Africa's biggest local banks are under attack. They still dominate the retail market but mergers have increased competition and they are at varying stages of rationalization to achieve sharper focus. At the high end of the market ­ corporate, investment and private banking they are losing market share to foreign banks and niche players.

Says Terry Davidson, general manager of Citibank: "Three years ago the big four [Standard, Nedcor, FNB and Absa] had 80% to 85% of market share and dominated in every area. Today they are losing market share." Grant Dunnington, general manager at First National Bank, agrees: "Ten years ago the market share of the big four was 90%. Now it has fallen to 76%."

The foreign banks are the biggest threat. They have been pouring into South Africa in the past six and a half years and around 75 now have a presence. At the end of 1997 the South African Banking Council estimated that foreign banks held 6.7% of the total assets of all banks doing business in South Africa.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree