TymeDigital. Via Twitter

HARARE - There is a new bank in South Africa. TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA, said yesterday (Thursday) it had been issued with an operating licence by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB). 

This was the first licence issued to a new bank by the SARB since 1999.

Sandile Shabalala, the chief executive at TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank SA, said the granting of the licence signalled the end of a  journey that began two years ago.

“This is a key milestone in our plans to launch a full-service digital bank and disrupt banking in South Africa,” said Shabalala.

The bank aims to open up the banking sector to Africans who are not considered wealthy, offer technology product that talks directly to customers and integrate banking into the lifestyles of its clients.

“We will offer South Africans the ability to open accounts and transact securely, within minutes. Through our innovative technology and financial education we aim to get more people using banking services to enhance their lives and increase economic participation,” Shabalala said.

The bank is scheduled to launch a service digital bank in June next year.

Commonwealth Banks SA  is 88 percent owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and is 10 percent owned by African Rainbow Capital, the JSE listed investment company that was launched by mining magnate Patrice Motsepe.

It has also planned to establish a foundation that aims to provide financial education to young people and women entrepreneurs.

"Supporting technology, which can be used to provide access to financial services is one of the ways we plan to broaden and deepen financial inclusion in South Africa and other emerging markets," Motsepe said in a statement.

Commonwealth Banks SA  operates Money Transfer, in partnership with Pick n Pay and Boxer stores which already has 200 000 customers. The bank said it had penned a ten-year strategic partnership with Pick n Pay.

Richard van Rensburg, Pick n Pay deputy chief executive, said the partnership was set up because the shared values of giving customers better value.

"We believe the market is ready for a new bank that will offer customers better value and more competition," said Van Rensburg. 

The 2016 FinScope said 89 percent of  South Africa’s 38.2 million adults had some type of financial account – either formal or informal.

The survey showed that in South Africa levels of financial inclusion remained stable over the last three years, which could be an indication of a saturated financial sector. 

Shabalala, who has 23 years of experience in the banking sector and was previously the head of Nedbank’s business banking, said he joined TymeDigital by Commonwealth Bank as it resonated deeply with him.

Shabalala said most people had bank accounts in which their salaries were deposited and were not exposed at a deeper level on what the banking sector was about.

“The bank speaks to how to get people educated about banking products premised on financial inclusion and this resonates with me. How do we make sure that we walk the journey with the community around them achieving financial well-being? ,” he said.

-BUSINESS REPORT