ON THE SPOT
GIULIETTA TALEVI: An accountant’s nightmare – at half the cost
Capitec founder Riaan Stassen recounts the setting up of the maverick bank, and the importance of the kind of culture he instilled
There aren't many ten-baggers on the SA stock market but Capitec is one of those feisty little bets that paid off, big-time. Business Day caught up with chairman Riaan Stassen ahead of his last week with the bank he helped create. What were Capitec’s founding principles, and have they changed? I was thinking about it earlier this week. If you take what we’re doing today it is exactly in line with the model that we developed 20 years back. We said the market wanted simplified, low-cost banking products delivered on a face-to-face basis. We said: here’s a big opportunity; bank costs are high, not transparent, banking is complex ... At that stage, I think I was an accountant’s nightmare because I said to (CFO) Andre du Plessis: whatever the other banks charge, we must deliver at half that price – and that’s how we set our pricing initially. Was it as simple as that – whatever the other guys charge, we’ll charge half? We learned some lessons in the microlending space and we’d done some ...