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Postbank brings government one step closer to state bank

The South African Post Office (Sapo) Group is expected to submit an application to have its financial services unit registered as a bank by mid-2017.

Sapo will submit an application to register Postbank as a bank by July 3, a document handed out in Parliament showed on Tuesday.

Sapo CEO Mark Barnes said the Post Office has R2.7bn in capital, and retained earnings at the end of December 2016, sufficient to meet the regulatory requirements.

In July last year, the South African Reserve Bank approved Sapo’s first-level application for a banking licence for Postbank.

‘Post Office on correct path to recovery’

Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele said on Tuesday that the Post Office is being turned around and is now on the correct path to recovery.

Department spokesperson Siya Qoza told Fin24 that the department is focusing on implementing new business to ensure the Post Office’s survival.

“One of these businesses is to corporatise Post Bank, distribution of social grants and turning the Post Office into the universal e-commerce hub for the southern African region,” he said.

In November last year telecommunications and postal services director general Robert Nkuna hosted Bishar Hussein, the director general of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), to discuss how the local postal industry could be modernised and benefit from e-commerce.

South Africa was identified by the UPU as one of the countries with good telecommunications infrastructure as well as sea and air entry points.

Cwele previously said that the awarding of the first level application brings government closer to realising a state bank.

“It should be clear that this bank is not in competition with commercial banks,” he said.

Qoza said that an organisation as large as the Post Office requires further recapitalisation in addition to the R600m provided by Treasury in 2016.

Postbank is set to serve government’s development agenda and expected to tap post office retail outlets across the country, turning them into branches.

Postbank is also set to become a subsidiary of Sapo, but with its own governing structure.

-fin24

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