Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

The Postbank is a step closer to being awarded fully fledged banking licence which will pave the way for the government to realise its vision of setting up a state-owned bank.

Establishing the bank was also seen as one aspect of a strategy to modernise the SA Post Office (Sapo) and put it on a profitable and sustainable path in the face of the growth in digital communication.

Postbank is a subsidiary of Sapo and has its own board.

Sapo is one of the many state-owned entities that continue to rely on government bailouts to stay afloat and has been hamstrung by acute management and financial problems in recent years, which left it on the brink of collapse.

Its CEO, Mark Barnes, recently resigned following a disagreement with the government and the board on their decision to separate Sapo and Postbank. Barnes’s vision when taking on the job to rescue Sapo was to create an integrated service providing mail, logistics and financial services in one entity.

Responding to questions from the EFF in parliament last week, communications minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams said that for the first time since the Postbank corporatisation journey commenced, full responsibility and control of the bank has been transferred to the Postbank board and management in line with section 6 of the South African Postbank Limited Act.

  As a result, the minister said, the Postbank has for the first time developed its own strategic corporate plan making it possible for it to operate fully as a standalone retail bank once awarded a fully fledged banking licence. Postbank will produce its financial year results as a separate legal entity for the first time at the close of the 2019/2020 financial year.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said the Financial Matters Amendment Act enabled state-owned companies to be eligible to apply for a banking licence and Postbank’s actual banking licence application submitted  to the SA Reserve Bank for adjudication, is at an advanced stage.

“All the Reserve Bank requirements pertaining to the banking licence application process have been fully met except for one. This is the requirement to apply to register the bank controlling company with the Registrar of Banks in terms of section 43 of the Banks Act,” Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

She said the optimal ownership structure of the bank controlling company has been agreed with the National Treasury and this is currently being effected through the amendment of the Postbank Act. 

“In this regard the draft Postbank Amendment Bill has been developed which is also aligned to the requirements of the Financial Matters Amendment Act.  The application for the registration of the Postbank Bank Controlling Company with the Sarb in terms of ... the Banks Act is the final step in the Postbank banking license application. 

“Once complied with Postbank would be considered to having complied fully with all the banking licence application requirements as stipulated in the Banks Act which will enable it to be awarded a fully-fledged banking licence,” the minister said.

phakathib@businesslive.co.za

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