After an expansion drive that saw the big four banks gobble up businesses in the rest of Africa and beyond, the time for adventuring may be drawing to a close as competition on the home front hots up. Unsecured lender Capitec - which has shown with its strong growth trajectory over the past decade that the big four banks are not untouchable - seeks to increase its reach in the middle market. Joining the race are first-time entrants Discovery Bank, Bank Zero and TymeDigital which will challenge the big banks' dominance at the top and bottom ends of the market. But the fiercest competition is likely to come from among the big four themselves, all of which continue to invest heavily in digitalisation- such as apps, robotics and artificial intelligence - in order to deliver seamlessly integrated products. "It's fierce out there," Standard Bank CEO Sim Tshabalala said on Thursday after presenting the bank's full-year financials. "Nedbank, FirstRand and Absa are doing really smart things ...

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