SA is close to spinning the Postbank out of the post office and using it to lend to the country’s poor and distribute welfare grants, in a bid to loosen the grip of private sector banks. Financial services, the largest sector of the South African economy at 20% of nominal GDP, has long been perceived as being dominated by the country’s big four banks — Standard Bank, FirstRand, Barclays Africa and Nedbank — which control about 90% of the market. The government aims to address this through "radical economic transformation", which is understood by some to mean nationalisation and ownership transfers to the black majority. "It’s not going to be a normal bank like the big four. It’s going to be a development bank to deal with the market that is not being served at the moment," Telecommunications and Postal Services Minister Siyabonga Cwele told Reuters on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum on Africa on Thursday. "It’s a higher risk, but we are not saying we are going to be reckle...

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