Capitec is switching gears from the focus on consumer lending that made it SA’s fastest-growing financial institution by bidding for the domestic business-banking unit of Caixa Geral de Depositos (CGD). The lender is among four acquirers short-listed for CGD’s Mercantile Bank. Nedbank Group, a group of investors consisting of Bayport Financial Services and the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), and a rival consortium comprising of Arise and Grindrod Bank are also bidding, according to Portugal’s official gazette. Fourteen bidders were not selected. A deal would "fast track our desire to expand our focus to a broader bank strategy", Capitec chief finance officer Andre du Plessis said in an e-mail. "There are many opportunities in the market to serve small-to-medium enterprises and owner-managed businesses better." Since starting in 2001, Capitec has expanded away from providing only unsecured loans into taking deposits and offering funeral insurance to its almost 10-million custome...

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