Capitec follows shopping malls with Sunday hours

Published May 12, 2011


South Africa’s youngest retail bank, Capitec, yesterday announced that it had begun trading permanently on Sundays, with 84 branches located on and around shopping centres nationwide opened to serve clients between 10am to 2pm.

The bank said the Sunday trading hours were aligned to those of fast-moving consumer goods retailers and restaurants in most shopping centres because its philosophy had always been to follow the retail approach.

“The bottom line is that all those malls are open on Sundays and almost all shops are open except banks. Now someone who works in an industrial environment from Monday to midday Saturday is there but unable to do his banking business,” said Carl Fischer, Capitec’s marketing and corporate affairs executive.

Traditionally banks do not operate on Sundays. But some, notably Standard Bank and FNB, have considered it and Absa took the initiative to offer pilot Sunday services at a few branches from June 2006.

Imara SP Reid analyst Stephen Meintjes said the closure of banks on Sundays was a legacy of Western civilisation and people had become used to it. He said even if the service was made available most people would not be eager to use it.

“I don’t think Capitec stands to benefit on this one but it’s entitled to make mistakes. I just think other banks will wait and see before following in their footsteps,” Meintjes said.

But Gavin Opperman, Absa’s retail bank chief executive, said there had been a good response to its branches operating on Sundays, such that they had increased the number from two to seven.

Capitec said its innovative banking model, based on paperless technology, reduced time and costs, leaving enough room for trading on Sunday.

Fischer said: “We don’t have a back office for end-of-day administration and there are a lot of costs that go into this process. The only thing that we will need to have running is our central system, which is open 24 hours every day anyway.”

He said the bank’s success in rolling out longer banking hours since its inception without any additional costs was a good indication that the rollout of Sunday operations would also not be a financial burden.

All 460 Capitec branches are open between 8am and 5pm from Monday to Friday and from 8am to 1pm on Saturdays.

“By opening our branches on Sundays, we will not only enable clients to do their personal banking when it suits them, but also further align ourselves to other retailers’ opening hours. It will also help to reduce in-branch pressure experienced over month-end peak days,” Fischer said.

Absa followed in these footsteps by extending weekday hours in 47 branches to 5pm as well and Saturday trading hours in 135 branches to 1pm.

Capitec’s Sunday trading initiative has created 100 new jobs and will be implemented beyond the current 84 mall branches. - Business Report

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