Postbank journey to bank status at an advanced stage, says minister


Postbank must clear one more hurdle at the South African Reserve Bank - and the last of the necessary legislative amendments - before it can become a fully-fledged bank. 

This is according to a written reply to Members of Parliament from Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams, who was responding to a question from Economic Freedom Fighters MP Lehlohonolo Mokoena.

Mokoena asked how much progress, if any, had been made in transforming Postbank into a fully-fledged bank since the enactment of the Financial Matters Amendment Bill. 

The journey to have Postbank operate as a fully-fledged bank started, in earnest, when President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the Financial Matters Amendment Bill into law this year. Since then, Postbank was taken from being a division of the Post Office and transferred to a holding entity, namely "South African Postbank".

Ndabeni-Abrahams said all the Reserve Bank requirements pertaining to the banking licence application process for Postbank had been fully met, except for one.

"This is the requirement to apply to register the bank controlling company with the Registrar of Banks in terms of Section 43 of the Banks Act."

Legislative changes

Regarding ownership structure, she said the necessary legislative amendments were being made. "The optimal ownership structure of the bank controlling company has been agreed with the National Treasury and this is currently being effected through the amendment of the Postbank Act," said Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said responsibility and control of the Postbank had been transferred to the Postbank Board and management in line with Section 6 of the South African Postbank Limited Act. 

"As a result the Postbank has for the first time developed its own strategic corporate plan and this is already positioning Postbank to operate fully as a stand-alone retail bank, once awarded a fully-fledged banking licence," Ndabeni-Abrahams said.

She added that in line with the above, a draft bill called the Postbank Amendment Bill had been developed. She said this was aligned to the requirements of the Financial Matters Amendment Act. 

"The draft Postbank Amendment Bill has been submitted to the office of the chief state law advisor for assistance with legal drafting and certification, whereas a Draft SEIAS report has been submitted to the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation for finalisation," she said.

The minister said the Postbank Act would be amended to meet requirements of the Banks Act and enable the incorporation of the Postbank Controlling Company with the Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission in terms of the Companies Act.

She said Postbank would be able to produce the financial year results as a separate legal entity for the first time at the close of the 2019/20 financial year.

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