Capitec gets green light for ready-made business banking challenger

Shortly after Biznews launched in August 2013, we were drawn into reporting a furore around Capitec, publishing opinions of critics claiming the stock was over-inflated. In what I later learned was typical of Capitec’s humble approach, CEO Riaan Stassen never defended himself. Instead, he simply invited me to visit Stellenbosch and see for myself.

That trip opened my eyes to a business that Lafferty International ranks the best bank in the world. After meeting Capitec’s top team and being shown around by Stassen on what was actually his last day before retiring, I became a convert. And have stayed one, which isn’t difficult if you consider the extraordinary track record.

Yesterday saw another major milestone in the company’s journey. After a process which began in March 2017 when Mercantile Bank’s Portuguese owners put their SA subsidiary up for sale, Capitec finally prevailed. The Competition Commission yesterday approved the merger giving SA banking’s great disruptor the green light to move into business banking.

When I first met Stassen, Capitec shares traded at R204. Today you will need R1,337 to buy them. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 40% in those five and a half years. With the lucrative business banking market beckoning and an already classy team at Mercantile set to get the support they deserve, I’d bet on that continuing.