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VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa’s banking confidence remained weak in the last quarter of 2013, with significant drop in the retail banking sector led by JSE-listed Absa, Standard Bank, FirstRand and Nedbank, it has emerged.
According to a survey by the financial services firm, overall banking confidence fell from 82 index in Q1 to 62 by the year end, while retail banking confidence plunged 34 indexes from 80 at the beginning of the year to 46, the lowest it has dropped in almost 2 years.
“The combined impact of slow credit growth, coupled with rising credit losses made for a difficult operating environment in the fourth quarter,” Emilio Pera, the financial services sector analyst at auditing and consulting firm, Ernst & Young (EY), said at the weekend.
“With latest estimates of GDP growth for the year at 2%, there are few supportive environmental factors for the market.”
But the picture is not as gloomy as the latest information suggests as some banks have begun to gain from ventures into the greater African continent, Pera continued.
The survey results also show that banks are battling to offset slower credit growth by paying more attention on fee income.
The survey showed that banking confidence sagged from 58 index points in the third quarter of last year to 56 index points in the fourth quarter of last year.
This was the 48th quarterly survey and the research is conducted by the Bureau for Economic Research in Stellenbosch based in the Western Cape Province.