While South Africa's mainstay banks have banked their future expansion on the African continent, FirstRand, the owner of FNB, is in talks to purchase UK lender, Aldermore, increasing its footprint in the developed world. Should it be completed, the deal is likely to be worth more than R19-billion. Aldermore is a specialist lender which targets market subsectors that are underserved by the mainstream banks and is counted among Britain's challenger banks. But as low interest rates and slow economic growth and regulatory issues in the UK have put pressure on the earnings of challenger banks, they are becoming increasingly attractive to buyers.The company's London-listed shares shot up 18.5% on Friday, indicating that the market was reasonably confident that the deal was likely to happen, said PSG Wealth portfolio manager Adrian Cloete. "It sounds like a really sensible deal from my point of view. [FirstRand] won't have to raise a significant amount of capital. "They are very focused on...

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