Awards for Excellence 2008: South Africa
Best bank: Standard Bank
The introduction of the National Credit Act in June last year helped to cut back credit approvals for domestic borrowers. This was no bad thing, particularly in the wake of the US sub-prime crisis. Despite this, Standard Bank’s domestic business continues to grow, with headline earnings a share and dividends a share averaging 20%. The bank’s personal and business banking division – the bulk of which is in South Africa – contributed some 43% of earnings in 2007. The bank’s investment in banking technology for the personal and business markets in South Africa is impressive.
Rand Merchant Bank is the investment banking arm of FirstRand Bank, one of South Africa’s largest Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed financial services groups. Its M&A activities have already been outlined above but it is also very active in South African debt markets, with one of its strengths being its ability to support its M&A activity by structuring multi-tiered debt packages.