Sanlam and Absa (once known as the Amalgamated Banks of SA) have had a cultural affinity for many years, in particular through the Volkskas component which Sanlam saw as part of the emerging Afrikaans business community from the 1930s onwards.

And Sanlam rescued another part of Absa — Trust Bank — from bankruptcy in the 1980s. There was also a memorandum of understanding which was supposed to encourage cross-selling of Sanlam life and funeral policies in every Absa branch. Ultimately, that didn’t work because, whatever Absa’s faults, it built an excellent in-house insurance business which remains a source of substantial profit at the bank...

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