African Rainbow Capital & TymeBank hosted an Investor, Analyst and Media day at the bank’s head office in Rosebank. Head of sales and services Cheslyn Jacobs was one of the speaker at the bank launch. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency(ANA)
JOHANNESBURG – The race for lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) heated up yesterday as the country’s first fully digital bank, TymeBank, went live.

The bank, which is backed by billionaire Patrice Motsepe, said it wanted to capture the majority of the 21 million potential customers in the middle-income band.

It said it had more than 100 000 people that had signed up for its offering.

The bank also launched its EveryDay transactional account bundled with a savings tool called GoalSave, its MoneyTransfer solution and its TymeCoach app.

TymeBank said it would have 730 points of presence for customers to open accounts inside a Pick * Pay or Boxer store.

The bank has more than 500 bank-enabled kiosks in the market.

Chief executive Sandile Shabalala said that the bank’s next target was SMEs.

“We are planning to introduce credit products later this year, as well as an SME proposition, but for now our focus is on getting simple and cost-effective banking solutions into people’s hands,” Shabalala said.

TymeBank’s official launch has marked the first salvo by digital-driven banks at traditional banks, with Discovery Bank expected to go live next month, and the launch of former FNB chief executive Michael Jordan’s Bank Zero also imminent.

The Motspepe-backed bank’s foray into the SME sector comes in an already heated race.

In November, Capitec bought Mercantile Bank in a R3.2 billion deal in a transaction that the bank said would allow it to offer compelling products to small businesses.

Financial services group Sasfin last week acquired “a strategic stake” in fintech lender Payabill.

Currently, Payabill offers loans of up to R150 000 to businesses.

TymeBank is owned by African Rainbow Capital (ARC) Financial Services Holdings, a company within Motsepe’s Ubuntu-Botho Investments stable. Shabalala said the ARC ecosystem would enable TymeBank to accelerate acquisition outside of the Pick * Pay and Boxer channels.

Johan van Zyl, the co-chief executive of ARC, said the group would be exploring the opportunity to offer affordable banking services to the client pools in the more than 40 investee companies in their portfolio, as well as other business partners.

“As TymeBank’s majority shareholder, we support management to achieve their key objective of broadening access to banking for all people,” Van Zyl said.

BUSINESS REPORT