South African banks have been among the best performers on the JSE in the past year. The FTSE/JSE Banks Index delivered close to a 9% 12-month return on Monday, while the JSE All Share Index and the Top40 delivered negative returns over the same period.
It's no surprise why: The big three banks – Standard Bank, Absa and Nedbank – who published their half-year results recently, generated R32.9 billion in headline earnings, 30% higher than the profits they collectively made in the first half of 2021. FirstRand, which presented its full-year results, also grew its earnings by 22% compared to the year ended in June 2021. For the most part, the Big Four's profits are now significantly ahead of their pre-pandemic levels.