Standard Bank. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Standard Bank. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Standard Bank hopes to start making up lost ground among South African car buyers through its activities in sub-Saharan Africa, Simphiwe Nghona, its new head of vehicle and asset finance (VAF), said on Thursday.

The bank used to be the main challenger to WesBank in providing vehicle finance to South Africans.

But loss of focus has seen it slip to a distant fourth place, behind WesBank, Absa and Nedbank. Nghona reckons it now clings to about 12% of the market.

It has negligible representation on vehicle dealership floors and, unlike the main competition, no finance joint ventures with major motor companies.

However, Nghona said most joint ventures were limited to SA and VAF had begun seeking partnerships elsewhere.

It had recently signed up with Ford Credit in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland, and hoped to strike deals with other companies elsewhere.

VAF is operating in 14 countries as it tracks its Standard Bank parent’s progress across Africa.

"We intend to expand to more," said Nghona, who joined VAF after 19 years at market leader WesBank.

He said it was also talking partnerships with ride-hailing service Uber’s new East African operation, based in Nairobi.

In Kenya alone, Uber was receiving up to 2,000 driver applications a month. Many of them would require finance assistance to buy cars.

The big prize, though, remained SA. "We are conscious of our past performance in this market," says Nghona.

"However, given that Standard Bank is such a big player in financial services, there is no reason we cannot compete and we believe we can position ourselves to do so. But it will require a lot of investment."

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