SA's consumers are still not in good shape overall, but an impressive number of them have weathered the crisis of the past year by developing "side hustles" that have enabled them to earn extra money. FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said this week that retail and commercial banking used to be easy to separate, but so many customers are now moving into self-employed side hustles that it was almost a new segment of the market. Working from home had anchored the trend, he said. "I don't think we can say the consumer is sorted, but lower interest rates provided breathing space, and where consumers were overextended, they really helped," he said. "But we need to reopen sectors such as tourism and hospitality. Without that, people will run out of steam."Celliers was speaking after the retail and commercial bank reported a 32% increase in pre-tax profits to R23.5bn for the year to end-June, while corporate and investment sister bank Rand Merchant Bank lifted pre-tax profit by 24% and parent Fi...

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