Discovery headquarters in the Sandton district of Johannesburg. Discovery appointed former deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank Francois Groepe as the deputy chief executive of its banking unit. File Photo: IOL

Financial Services group Discovery scored a major coup last week by appointing former deputy governor of the South African Reserve Bank (Sarb) Francois Groepe as the deputy chief executive of its banking unit as the group readies itself to shake up the banking industry.  

Barry Hore, chief executive of Discovery Bank said Groepe was an important appointment. “We are pleased to welcome Francois Groepe who brings with him tremendous experience in both the corporate and regulatory environments. He is a seasoned executive and will be a valuable addition to our team,” Hore said. 

During his term at the central bank, Groepe provided oversight over the Financial Stability Department, the National Payment System Department, Risk Management & Compliance Department, the Currency Cluster and the Security Management Department. 

He resigned from the Sarb in January, ending a 14-year career at the Reserve Bank. 

Groepe he was looking forward to the new role at the fledgling bank.

“The South African financial services landscape is undergoing significant structural change and Discovery Bank, which is the world’s first behavioural bank, will be playing a key role in this changed landscape. I look forward to being part of this exciting transition,” Groepe said.

His appointment became effective at the start of this month. 

Groepe's former colleague at Sarb Daniel Mminele is rumoured to be lined up to take over as Absa’s next chief executive following the resignation of Maria Ramos in March. Mminele also served as the central bank’s deputy governor and retired from the service of the Sarb when his second five-year term as deputy governor expired at the end of June. 

Discovery Bank’s entry into the competitive banking has marked the first salvo by digital-driven banks at traditional banks. Former FNB chief executive Michael Jordan’s Bank Zero lunch is also imminent.

Patrice Motsepe backed TymeBank became the country’s first fully digital bank to go live in February.

BUSINESS REPORT