Thankfully we don’t need another crisis to be reminded that banking is a tough old business.

About two dozen years ago local investors — who might have thought the big four banks of that day a tad complacent — backed more than a few new banking initiatives. The JSE saw the listing of Fulcrum Science & Technology Bank, Regal Treasury and The Business Bank (TBB), along with specialist investment banks and microlenders. But a little nervousness among depositors — fanned by excitable media reports — meant the lot were practically sunk. Most investors were left carrying a sack of tears, though TBB’s banking licence was eventually used by a promising little upstart called Capitec Bank...

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