Best Bank: Standard Bank
Retail banking in South Africa is notoriously dozy. A recent survey of how the big four banks – Absa, Nedbank, Standard Bank and First National Bank – treat their customers, carried out by consultancy House of Performance, reveals a shocking complacency and lack of customer service. Customers spend more than 70% of their time in a branch waiting to be served. Banks are more interested in procedures than customers. One banker told one of the researchers: "There is really no difference between us and the other banks." So should we be handing out an award for excellence at all, or should it be black marks all round? No doubt there is work to be done but Standard Bank appears to be serving its customers better than its peers. It enjoyed a strong demand for all lending products in the past 12 months despite the 200 basis points increase in interest rates over the period. Personal and business banking, well positioned to benefit from this strong demand, posted robust, high-quality asset growth.