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Discovery Bank, TymeBank's advantage dissipates as Covid-19 brings forward the future

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Because of Covid-9 every bank in SA is trying to be a digital bank to those who need one. 
Photo: Getty Images
Because of Covid-9 every bank in SA is trying to be a digital bank to those who need one. Photo: Getty Images

Just over a month after TymeBank clinched a deal with the the Zion Christian Church (ZCC), and two weeks before masses of potential customers were due to congregate at the Zion City Moria in Limpopo, everything came to a standstill.

The lockdown not only made it impossible for one of the country's youngest banks to sign up customers at a speed it had planned, but it also thrust all the incumbent banks into flight-or-fight mode, and they chose the latter, pouring in billions of rands to fortify their digital platforms too. Suddenly, everyone was servicing and onboarding customers online, just like Discovery Bank and TymeBank.

Analysts say Covid-19 has changed the dynamics of competition in South Africa's banking industry in a way that no other historical event ever managed, not even the global financial crisis that emanated from banking.

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