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Most Gauteng communities cannot access banking services offered by commercial banks, and access to credit facilities is notoriously expensive. This form of financial exclusion also affects those in the informal sector as well as small traders, the majority of whom operate in townships. Research conducted by Finscope in 2015 indicated that 15% of adults around Gauteng did not have bank accounts – the main reason being the hidden costs private banks charge for such services. Gauteng premier David Makhura identified co-operative financial institutions (CFIs) as one of the vehicles the province needs to address financial exclusion in all its manifestations. The umbrella term refers to member-based, deposit-taking financial co-operatives; these institutions are owned and controlled by the members who share a common bond. The CFI model is building on the tradition of self-financing, self-helping and self-sustaining organisations that manifest through community-initiated schemes such as bu...

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