Two state-owned Chinese banks are neck-and-neck with Capitec as they race to catch up to SA's big 5

Business Insider SA

  • Capitec is now one-fifth the size of Investec, after strong growth in its assets in 2017.
  • But the Johannesburg bank of the state-owned Bank of China grew far faster, and is now roughly half the size of Capitec by assets.
  • Counting in the China Construction Bank, the Chinese state is keeping neck-and-neck with Capitec as SA's 6th biggest banker.

Capitec's total assets grew by 21.34% in 2017, the annual report of the Reserve Bank's supervision department shows, at just over R87 billion at the end of the year.

That has it – slowly – creeping up on the five biggest banks by far in SA, which recorded much slower growth. FirstRand Bank's assets grew by 10.23%, but its large peers all saw single-digit percentage increases.

Capitec is now about one-fifth the size of Investec, and a little under 7% the size of Standard Bank, which remains the biggest by assets.

But despite its rapid growth Capitec remained only just ahead of the two state-owned Chinese banks operating in South Africa, the Johannesburg branch of Bank of China, and the China Construction Bank.

The Reserve Bank reported a 35.74% increase in Bank of China's total assets in 2017, easily offsetting a small reduction in the assets of China Construction Bank's Johannesburg branch.

Between them the two Chinese banks hold R80.4 billion, compared to Capitec's R87 billion.

These are South Africa's biggest banks by assets at the end of 2017

1. Standard Bank: R1.25 trillion (up 1.64%)

2. FirstRank Bank: R1.12 trillion (up 10.23%)

3. Absa Bank: R983 billion (up 7.51%)

4. Nedbank: R892 billion (up 2.60%)

5. Investec Bank: R415 billion (up 7.29%)

6. Capitec Bank: R87 billion (up 21.34%)

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