Banks in South Africa

Banks in South Africa; Banking system in South Africa includes 10 locally controlled banks, 7 foreign controlled banks, 3 mutual banks, 2 co-operative banks as well as over 50 branches and representative offices of foreign banks across the country.


The total assets of banking sector amounted to approximately ZAR 6 trillion as at 2018 according to a data from South African Reserve Bank.

We have the Banks in South Africa with a little overview of the individual banks below.

Absa Bank – A leading South African bank with over 10 million retail and corporate customers. It operates as a subsidiary of Barclays Africa Group. As of January 2018, it had a market capitalization of over ZAR 3.4 billion.

African Bank – The commercial bank headquartered in Midrand. It focuses on providing unsecured personal loans to residents of South Africa and it is one of the best performing banks in that field.

Al Baraka Bank – The pioneer of Islamic banking in South Africa. It operates as a subsidiary of the Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group and its customers are mostly Islams.

Barclays Africa Group is formerly called the Absa Group. It is one of largest financial services companies in Africa with over 12 million customers and 42,000 employees as at 2018. It has branches in almost all African Countries.

Bidvest Bank – A leading foreign exchange specialist in South Africa. It focuses on all major currencies through a correspondent global network.

Capitec Bank Holdings – A commercial bank headquartered in Stellenbosch. As at 2018, the Capitec Bank Holdings had a market capitalization of over ZAR 108 billion (US$7.9 billion). A wide customer range across the country and has a sizable number of employees.

Discovery Limited engages in long and short-term insurance, asset management, savings, investment and employee benefits through its various brands. The Group has subsidiaries in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, China, Singapore, and Australia.

FirstRand Group – One of the largest financial institutions in the country. It includes FirstRand Bank, First National Bank, Rand Merchant Bank and WesBank. As of December 1, 2017, the Group had a market capitalization of ZAR 317 billion (US$23 billion).

First National Bank (FNB) is the oldest bank in South Africa established in 1838. It operates as a subsidiary of FirstRand Group and has branches all across the country.

Grindrod Bank (GRDB) – A competitive investment bank serving private, corporate and institutional customers. It is rated by GCR and has a stable outlook of BBB+ (ZA).

HBZ Bank – A wholly owned subsidiary of Habib Bank AG Zurich. It was launched in 1995 and maintains branches in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng. HBZ has a division specializing in Islamic banking.

Investec Bank Ltd is a focused specialist bank and asset management company. It provides investment, corporate and private banking services.

Imperial Bank South Africa Limited is commonly known as Imperial Bank, is a commercial bank in the Republic of South Africa. It is licensed as a locally controlled financial institution by the Reserve Bank of South Africa, the national banking regulator.

Mercantile Bank Holdings – An investment holding company, providing international and domestic banking services to retail and corporate customers. It has two subsidiaries: Mercantile Bank and Mercantile Insurance Brokers that provides life insurance and short-term broking services. Mercantile Bank Holdings is a division of Caixa Geral de Depositos S.A.

MMI Holdings – A financial services group providing insurance, savings, asset management, investments, healthcare administration and employee benefits.

Nedbank Group – The South Africa’s fourth largest banking group as measured by assets. It offers a wide range of wholesale and retail banking services, wealth management and insurance products. The Bank is 54% owned by the parent company, Old Mutual plc.

Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) – The investment banking arm of the FirstRand Group and one of the leading corporate and investment banks in Africa.

Sasfin Bank – A niche banking and financial services group headquartered in Waverley. The company serves individuals and businesses, focusing on corporate clients and high net worth individuals.

South African Reserve Bank – The central bank of the RSA. It maintains that South Africa has a growing economy based on the principles of a market system, private and social initiative, effective competition and social fairness.

Standard Bank Group – The largest bank in South Africa by assets and earnings. It is a full-service financial group with operations in 20 African countries. As at 2018, it had total assets of of ZAR 1.95 trillion. It has branches in almost every major city in South Africa.

Ubank Ltd which is formerly Teba Bank is a South African bank operating in the microfinance sector. It operates primarily within the gold and platinum mining communities.

United Bank – Allied Bank, United Bank and Volkskas Bank stop trading under their own names, from this point they all trade under the name “ABSA”.


WesBank – The largest provider of vehicle finance in South Africa, financing 1 in 3 new cars sold. The company operates as a division of FirstRand Bank.