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Africanbank is partnering with actress Nomzamo Mbatha to launch its 'Empower Her' account, which offers benefits such as a legal help desk for issues related to gender-based violence and investment opportunities for female entrepreneurs. Picture: Africanbank
Africanbank is partnering with actress Nomzamo Mbatha to launch its 'Empower Her' account, which offers benefits such as a legal help desk for issues related to gender-based violence and investment opportunities for female entrepreneurs. Picture: Africanbank

Africanbank, a pioneer in financial empowerment, is on a journey that is not just about financial services, but also about levelling the economic playing field, driving economic inclusion and fostering a culture of innovation and resilience. 

With a legacy rooted in audacity and community impact, Africanbank’s CEO Kennedy Bungane says the vision of an Africanbank for the people, by the people, serving the people, was born from the need to financially empower those excluded from mainstream financial services.

“Six decades after it was first mooted, that vision remains our inspiration.” 

Africanbank group CEO Kennedy Bungane. Picture: Africanbank
Africanbank group CEO Kennedy Bungane. Picture: Africanbank

Over the past 18 months, Africanbank has made significant strides in expanding its reach and impact within the financial landscape. The acquisitions of both Grindrod Bank and Ubank not only bolstered its balance sheet by more than 60%, but also signalled a strategic shift towards a more diversified financial ecosystem and enabled the payment of dividends to shareholders. 

These strategic moves align closely with the bank’s Excelerate25 strategy, aimed at expanding its core and establishing a strong footprint in the business banking market. The recent agreement with Sasfin to acquire its capital equipment finance and commercial property finance loan books further reinforces this commitment to diversification and growth.

“Our strategic transformation through Excelerate25 reflects our dedication to building a customer-centric, data-driven, scalable and digital-first business,” says Bungane. “We are building bridges not just for today, but for a future where every South African has the opportunity to thrive.” 

The bank’s commitment to community partnerships and empowerment remains at the forefront of this vision. Through a hybrid model of digital innovation and personalised service, Africanbank ensures that no consumer is left behind, fostering financial inclusion while driving economic growth.

At Africanbank, we are building bridges not just for today, but for a future where every South African has the opportunity to thrive
Africanbank group CEO Kennedy Bungane

In 2024 the bank will launch its own business banking offering.

“It’s a proud moment for Africanbank as it represents a return to our original mandate,” says Bungane. “The bank was founded by black entrepreneurs who created an institution that would support their aspirations. Through our business banking products and services, we aim to do just that. Not merely as credit providers, but as trusted financial partners. We will judge the success of our venture by the success of our customers.” 

Africanbank’s upcoming initial public offering (IPO) listing in 2025 represents a significant milestone, solidifying its status as a bank of the people and underscoring its commitment to transparency, accountability and inclusivity, offering an opportunity for all South Africans to participate in the bank’s success story. 

“As we prepare for our IPO listing in 2025, Africanbank is poised to become truly owned by the people, fulfilling the vision our founders set out decades ago. This listing will not only mark a historic moment, but also signify our unwavering commitment to being a bank that serves the aspirations and needs of every South African,” says Bungane. 

The bank plans to implement a broad-based employee share ownership scheme to align employee and shareholder interests, allowing employees to participate in the value created by the listing and to attract and retain human resources. The share trust will hold no more than 10% of the ordinary shareholding of Africanbank Holdings Ltd post the issue of shares, and each eligible employee will receive an equal allocation. 

Our strategy isn’t just about banking; it’s about creating holistic solutions that uplift entrepreneurs and communities
Africanbank group CEO Kennedy Bungane

The bank’s Excelerate25 strategy has provided it with a clear road map for differentiation in the market. By outlining specific goals, such as expanding into new markets and enhancing digital offerings, the strategy allows the bank to showcase its value proposition. 

Ultimately, the success of Excelerate25 in achieving its goals has a direct impact on the bank’s financial performance. Positive financial results have enhanced the bank’s credibility and attractiveness to investors and customers, solidifying its position in the market. 

“Our strategy isn’t just about banking; it’s about creating holistic solutions that uplift entrepreneurs and communities,” says Bungane. 

The bank recently unveiled its revamped logo and an empowering new campaign message, “Africanbank backs you”. The new logo design echoes the bank’s rich heritage, signifying resilience, innovation and the power of audacity, encapsulating its journey from its audacious inception in 1975 to its present-day status as a symbol of financial empowerment.

It also represents the amalgamation of three banks: Africanbank, Grindrod Bank and Ubank into one bank. 

Africanbank's new logo. Picture: Africanbank
Africanbank's new logo. Picture: Africanbank

Brand upgrades are more than just a fresh coat of paint, says Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo, adding that they are also “a strategic investment in staying connected to our audience, adapting to market changes and reinforcing our brand’s values and promises, signalling our commitment to innovation and customer experience”.

It was recently announced that actress and TV personality Nomzamo Mbatha has joined forces with Africanbank in a partnership that encompasses a brand ambassadorship and a commercial element that will lead to the launch of a specially-curated “Empower Her” account. 

Mbatha, who has enjoyed international acclaim in Hollywood films and recently graced local screens in the hit series Shaka iLembe, will provide a narrative underscoring the essence of audacity and a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo. Picture: Africanbank
Africanbank group chief marketing officer Sbusiso Kumalo. Picture: Africanbank

Kumalo says Mbatha’s advocacy for humanitarian causes and her achievements in the entertainment industry make her a natural fit for Africanbank, a brand deeply committed to backing individuals and communities, helping them to thrive.

As a UN global goodwill ambassador and the founder of the Nomzamo Lighthouse Foundation, she has been a champion of human rights and a beacon of support for marginalised communities — a mission that resonates with Africanbank’s dedication to promoting economic inclusivity and empowering individuals, businesses and communities.

Africanbank’s brand identity revamp culminated in a new TV commercial featuring Mbatha. This commercial — watch it below — aims to entrench the bank’s positioning as an aspirational brand for young professionals. 

“We’re very excited to be partnering with Nomzamo. Not only do our values resonate with her, but she is a young star who has made her mark on the global stage by harnessing her audacity to believe. She represents the exciting potential inherent in our country. Her dedication to uplifting and empowering communities aligns seamlessly with our mission to foster economic inclusivity and financial empowerment. 

“Our partnership with Nomzamo transcends that of her celebrity status as we do not merely view her as a brand ambassador or influencer, but rather as a partner with whom we can create a meaningful commercial relationship,” says Kumalo, adding the bank is determined to back the audacity of go-getters and support them on their journeys to success. 

WATCH | Africanbank's new TV commercial featuring brand ambassador Nomzamo Mbatha.

The launch of a Mbatha “Empower Her” account will not necessarily exclude men, but will unlock certain benefits for women, such as a legal help desk for issues related to gender-based violence, a health desk, investment opportunities and savings pockets for female entrepreneurs, and access to women empowerment events, among other features. Details will be released at a later date. 

Reflecting on her decision to collaborate with Africanbank, Mbatha says she sees parallels between the Africanbank journey and her own. “Just as I have transcended humble beginnings to make a global impact, Africanbank has evolved to become a symbol of financial empowerment.” 

This partnership dovetails neatly with Africanbank’s belief in inclusivity in banking and empowering those on the margins of the economic playing field. “Through Nomzamo, we hope to introduce Africanbank’s vision to a new generation. We want them to know that whatever their path to success looks like, Africanbank will back them every step of the way,” says Kumalo. 

What is very clear is that Africanbank plans to continue redefining banking, creating opportunity for a brighter, more inclusive future for all.

This article was sponsored by Africanbank.

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