It’s easy to assume that Africa is filled with wild jungles or open plains without an ounce of civilization in sight. A trip to some of the larger cities on the continent will not only prove to be a surprise but a welcoming one at that. Furthermore, right at the tip of the African continent lies South Africa, a former British colony. South Africa is not only home to the biggest banking group in Africa, but also their four biggest banks claim the first four top spots on the continent as well. Finally, of the big four, Standard Bank towers over its competitors. How does this unassuming bank compare to those on other continents?
We also did a full review on HSBC Bank. Read here to see how it compares.
History of Standard Bank
Standard Bank opened its doors to the public In January 1963. Although the Memorandum was signed in London, the first branch was opened in Port Elizabeth. In order to trade outside the borders of England, the bank’s Memorandum was altered. This then changed the name to The Standard Bank of South Africa, Limited.
Even with the name change, it became necessary for the bank to form a South African subsidiary. There was no name change, however, the parent company in London was knowns as The Standard Bank Limited. Furthermore, the name later changed to Standard Chartered.
Things started picking up for the bank in the sixties. Banks across the world embraced modern banking and Standard Bank was no different. Retail banking allowed the ordinary man on the street to benefit from the services provided by banks. Furthermore, this allowed the bank to increase their operations in order to expand from just commercial operations.
The 21st century allowed the bank to step into a broader arena. It entered into a partnership with ICBC. This partnership with the world’s largest bank by capitalization gave the bank further exposure to global markets.
Access to Standard Bank
Standard Bank offers online banking for most transactions in a personal and business capacity. Some of their products are available online, however, the fulfillment of the product often has to take place in a branch.
The Standard Bank Group has over 1,200 branches in Africa alone. The bank has a large market share, however, the main hub is based in South Africa. Some of the countries include:
- Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark and France
- Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, and Latvia
- Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, and Netherlands
- Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK
- USA, Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Chile
- China, Japan, India, Korea, and Malaysia
- Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and UAE
- Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa
- Australia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea
Standard Bank Personal Banking Product Offerings
This is the ideal account for those who are just starting out. It has no special requirements but packs a whole load of features and benefits.
- The account is suitable for those over the age of 16.
- Also, the account provides convenient banking at AccessPoints in the local community.
- Furthermore, it offers the option to buy prepaid airtime, data, and electricity.
- Finally, there is the option to send money to anyone using Instant Money.
An account suitable for those who earn above the specified wage criteria. Furthermore, the account is available to those who have a three-year degree or diploma. Also, when it comes to special features, this account has many.
- First of all, the account is linked to a personalized gold cheque card.
- There is a reduced monthly management fee on a second account for a spouse or partner.
- Furthermore, there are cashback rewards at selected retailers.
- Customers have access to safe and easy virtual payment systems.
- Also, the account allows access to self-service banking.
- The account includes many free transactions and other benefits.
This account provides some unique services to those who earn in the higher earnings bracket. There is a minimum earning range for the account. Furthermore, customers who have a 3-year undergraduate degree with honors or higher may also qualify. That is to say they earn above a certain income and are under the age of thirty.
- Customers will have access to Prestige Bankers.
- Dedicated service teams for personal finance matters.
- Furthermore, there is access to financial advisers.
- Also, this account has a preferential rate when customers choose to have an overdraft.
- The account is linked to a Titanium Cheque Card.
- No transaction fees on cheque card purchases, and more.
This account provides tailored services to those who earn in the higher end of the market. Customers have access to a dedicated team of professionals who will take care of all their banking needs. Private banking customers also benefit from special benefits and preferential rates.
- Customers need to earn a minimum or have a certain amount invested with the bank.
- The account provides access to wealth management specialists.
- The Private Banking suite is available through instant messaging, 24/7.
- Furthermore, this division grants access to offshore banking.
- Free add-ons and perks such as foreign exchange delivery, travel wallet card activation, and more.
Private Banking Signature
Customers who earn close to $10,000 per month will find this division of the bank to cater to all their needs.
- This account is an upgrade from the Private Banking Suite.
- 24 Complimentary visits per annum to over 500 airport lounges within South Africa and aboard.
- Furthermore, customers have access to the dedicated Signature Travel Desk.
- Access to a private banker, and more.
An account that allows children to understand the basics of running their own bank account. Furthermore, the account is suitable for those under the age of 16.
- First of all, the account provides 24/7 self-service access.
- Furthermore, there are no fees for prepaid airtime recharges when customers use the correct prompts.
- Also, the account is linked to a free debit card.
- Finally, it provides access to the fun and educational Kidz Banking App.
Teenagers and young adults have different needs to those who have entered the job market. They need access to simple banking techniques while learning the ins and outs of daily transaction. This account provides this and more.
- The account is suitable to those between the ages of 16 and 23.
- Also, this account is student friendly. This account is for those at school. Furthermore, those who study at a recognized tertiary institution may also apply. Finally, those who study part-time and earn less than the specified threshold may also apply.
- Students with this account have access to low-interest student loans.
- The account allows them access to several free transactions.
- Also, the account comes with a free bank card.
- There is no monthly management fee.
This account allows those who have graduated with a professional degree access to superior banking.
- This account is suitable for those between the ages of 18 and 30.
- The following fields are recognized:
- Lawyers, Attorneys & Advocates
- Chartered Accountants
- Actuarial Sciences
- Architecture & Engineering
- Selective degrees in IT, Finance, Aviation, and Arts & Culture
- Customers will have preferential rates on finance.
- Furthermore, this account provides access to a range of investments tools.
- Also, customers have access to the Frontier Lifestyle Social Club.
- A dedicated Private Banker as a single point of contact, and more.
Consolidator Current Account
Simplified banking for those over the age of 55. This account carries certain minimum criteria.
- Customers will have access to unlimited free transactions.
- Also, the account is linked to a Gold Visa or MasterCard. Furthermore, this card can be used for local and international purchases.
- Customers may apply for an overdraft. This is approved once the minimum criteria is met.
- The account includes free Travel Wallet card with no activation, loading or reloading fees.
- Finally, the account includes free foreign exchange delivery. This is to approved business addresses in certain areas.
Another bank that has an impressive collection of current accounts is Deutsche Bank. read more on these accounts here.
Platinum Credit Card
A credit card option for those who earn about $5,000 per month. The card is suitable for those over the age of eighteen.
- Customers will need to have a clear credit rating and satisfy legislative requirements.
- Expert financial support from a dedicated relationship manager.
- Furthermore, 55 days’ interest-free credit.
- Also, there is access to the Platinum Customer Care line.
- Finally, easy payment management through various digital channels.
Titanium Credit Card
A suitable credit card for those who are starting to earn about $2,000 per month.
- Customers who earn about $350 per month who have a 3-year undergraduate degree may also apply.
- Customers need to meet the minimum credit rating. They also need to comply with legislative requirements.
- The card offers 55 days interest-free credit.
- A limit of up to about $7,500.
- Furthermore, customers enjoy safe online shopping with 3D secure and one-time passwords.
- Also, there is easy payment management through digital channels.
- Finally, this card comes bundled with a cheque card when a Prestige account is opened.
Gold Credit Card
An ideal entry-level credit card for those who earn about $350 or more.
- The card is available to those over the age of eighteen. Furthermore, customers need to have a satisfactory credit rating. Also, they will need to meet the legislative requirements.
- The account provides a limit of up to $7,500.
- Safe online shopping with 3D Secure and one-time passwords.
- Finally, customers easily manage payments through digital channels.
This provides customers with various means of currency for their travels abroad. These include TravelWallet card and foreign notes. Furthermore, customers can also send money up to a specified limit with Moneygram.
The Bank of Ireland has an entire division dedicated to International payments. Read here for the review.
In order for customers to qualify for a homeloan they need to meet the criteria. This includes the minimum age of eighteen and the minimum income requirement. Furthermore, customers also need to have a transactional account where their money is deposited every month.
- These loans offer competitive interest rates.
- Customers can borrow up to 104% of the value of the property. This assists with the transfer and bond registration costs.
- Customers can apply on their own or with their partner.
- Furthermore, a repayment term of up to 20 years.
- Also, the option of adding credit life insurance.
Secondary or Investment Property
This loan helps homeowners expand their horizons and purchase additional property.
- Customers can borrow up to 100% of the property’s value or purchase price.
- Furthermore, customers have the option to apply as an individual, joint, or through a business entity.
- Also, the loan term can go up to 20 years.
- Finally, customers will benefit from competitive interest rates.
Build a Home Loan
This type of loan allows customers to build a home according to their own needs and specifications.
- The loan is structured according to the specific conditions of the project.
- Customers can access up to 100% of the value or purchase price of the property.
- Furthermore, repayments term up to 20 years.
- Also, customers will benefit from competitive interest rates.
This option provides customers with the option to switch their bond to Standard Bank.
- These loans are competitive. Furthermore, customers have the option to apply for a fixed or variable interest rate.
- Also, customers have the option to include credit life insurance.
- There is the choice to register as an individual or with a partner.
- Loan terms of up to 20 years.
- Finally, customers will need to cancel their bond with their existing institution.
Pension Backed Loan
Suitable for those who wish to secure their loan with their pension fund.
- Customers who wish to have their pension work for them before retirement can opt for this loan.
- The customer needs to be employed full-time. Furthermore, they need to belong to the company pension or provident fund.
- Also, customers need to have a withdrawal benefit of a certain amount.
- The repayments are deducted from the salary or wages.
- Also, there is the option to apply for a second loan after paying for the first loan for at least 3 months.
- Finally, there are no bond registration costs or delays. Also, there are no property assessment fees.
Business from Home
This is the ideal option for those who wish to convert a portion of their home into business premises.
- This option allows borrowers to borrow up to 80% of the value of the home.
- Also, customers will benefit from competitive interest rates.
- Finally, this is for customers who partially use a portion of their home for business.
Vehicle Finance Options
With this type of finance, the customer takes ownership of the vehicle once the vehicle has been paid off.
- Customers are often able to negotiate the deposit.
- Furthermore, the interest rate is fixed or variable.
- Loan terms up to 84 months for new cars. Also, used cars have a finance period of up to 72 months.
- Deals under a certain threshold can be settled early without penalty.
After the finance period, customers can choose whether they wish to take ownership or not. They may also choose the bank to sell it on their behalf. The agreement can also be extended at the end of the initial agreement.
- The deposit is often negotiable.
- Also, customers have the option of a fixed or variable interest rate.
- The finance period is up to 84 months for new vehicles. Furthermore, used vehicles have a finance period of up to 72 months.
- Finally, customers have the option of early settlement. Deals that are under a certain threshold don’t attract any penalty fees.
This type of loan is suitable for those who have unforeseen expenses or require access to funds in a hurry. Furthermore, these loans have fixed or flexible loan terms to suit the needs of the clients. Also, customers have the option of early settlement without penalties.
This facility is linked to a current account and provides the account holder with an emergency buffer. This is sometimes necessary in the event of financial emergencies. Furthermore, customers will this facility as a revolving-type credit.
These loans are necessary to bridge the gap between savings and education, and sometimes foot the whole bill where there are no savings at all. Student loans are available to students who wish to study through accredited further education institutions.
Savings and Investments
This account provides customers with the opportunity to save. Furthermore, customers will have access to the funds as and when they need them. Also, the capital in this account is guaranteed. This type of investment requires a minimum opening deposit.
Customers have a certain limit which they are allowed to invest per annum and in their lifetime. The interest earned on this investment is tax-free. Furthermore, the investment requires a minimal opening deposit.
This is a savings account that allows customers to save a minimal amount each month. This account is ideal for those who wish to start off their savings without committing to a large monthly installment. Furthermore, customers have access to the funds anytime.
Customers can use the account like a current account, with the added benefit of earning interest on positive balances. The account requires a minimum deposit. Finally, customers can access their funds anytime.
Customers who meet the minimum opening deposit criteria will benefit from highly competitive interest rates. Furthermore, customers have access to their funds anytime. Also, capital is guaranteed.
A relatively low opening balance required for this account. Furthermore, access to funds is available anytime and customers will earn competitive interest rates.
The ideal account for groups who wish to save together. This works well for stokvels, burial societies, social clubs and investment clubs. Furthermore, the opening deposit is fairly low. Also, customers have access to the money at any time.
A fairly low opening balance is required for this account. Also, the account provides a very competitive interest rate. Furthermore, customers will have access to up to 40% of their funds during the term. Finally, this account offers a fixed interest rate.
Tax-Free Fixed Interest
This account provides customers with the benefit of earning interest on their savings without having to pay tax on the interest. The investment is a fixed deposit and customers will have access to the funds at maturity. There are certain annual and lifetime limitations to the account. Furthermore, clients will need to meet the minimum opening deposit criteria.
First of all, this account provides customers with a savings vehicle that will restrict their access to their funds. This is ideal for those who wish to put their funds away for a future goal. Also, customers should not have need of the funds for the duration of the investment period. Furthermore, customers are required to meet the minimum opening deposit criteria.
32-Day Notice Deposit
This account provides customers with the security knowing that they can’t access their funds instantly. Furthermore, access to the funds requires 32 days’ notice. The opening balance for the account is also fairly low. Also, this account provides competitive interest rates.
Those who struggle to commit to monthly savings unless forced will find this account to be the best option. Customers have the option to save for 1 to 20 years and the monthly installments start off very low. Furthermore, customers will receive competitive interest rates.
Customers who wish to open this type of investment account will need to have an opening deposit that is slightly higher than many of the other products. Furthermore, this investment offers returns linked to growth in the JSE Top 40 index equity market. Also, customers will have access to the funds at the end of the term.
This account is suitable for those who don’t wish to have immediate access to their account, however, want to have access to it in the case of an emergency. This account is a 7-day notice account and customers will have a competitive interest on their savings. Also, the opening deposit on the account is fairly low.
This is another tax-free product, however, this takes place on the JSE. This account restricts customers to annual and lifetime maximum deposits. Furthermore, customers will need to pay a brokerage fee for the account. The opening deposit on the account is fairly low.
An investment that allows customers to invest in shares and securities listed on the JSE. Furthermore, customers will have access to an easy-to-use online platform. Also, customers will need to pay a brokerage fee.
This option gives customers the opportunity to invest in funds or groups of funds that cover different risk portfolios. These funds are carefully managed by fund managers. Furthermore, these investments are often not guaranteed. Also, the returns are variable.
Customers have the chance to invest in fixed income interest bearing securities listed on the JSE. Furthermore, these often offer better returns than bank deposits. Also, customers will purchase and sell them with ease.
This division offers customers the opportunity to get their affairs in order. This helps them leave a legacy for their families in the event of death. Some of the services provided include:
- Drafting of Wills
- Safe Custody Services
- Trust and Estate Planning Advice
- Drafting of Trust Deeds
- Estate Administration
- Employee Benefits
Car and Household Insurance
This insurance covers the risk of structural damage to the home.
Car and Household Content Insurance
Covers content in the house and car.
This offers customers the peace of mind that if something should happen to them, their estate won’t have to carry the burden of unpaid debt. These include:
- Vehicle and Asset Finance Protection Plan
- Home Loan Protection Plan
- Credit Card Protection Plan
- Personal Loan Protection Plan
Top Up Insurance
This insurance is the ideal supplement to comprehensive vehicle insurance. It also removes the risk of shortfall and/or violation of the comprehensive policy.
Touch Up Insurance
This option is suitable for minor repairs. These include chips, minor dents, and light scratches. Furthermore, this includes mag wheel scratch repairs.
This insurance is a benefit on all Standard Bank MasterCard and Visa Cards. Furthermore, when customers purchase their public conveyance travel tickets with their Standard Bank credit card, they receive automatic basic cover. Also, they have the option to take up additional cover at preferential rates.
This option allows customers to bury their loved ones with dignity. There are different plans to choose from, and each plan offers different benefits. Furthermore, customers have various cover amounts. Also, there are plans that offer the option to cover extended family.
There are various types of cover in this category. These include simple life cover, salary protection, disability cover, and serious illness cover.
Standard Bank Business Banking Product Offerings
Business Current Account
First of all, this account provides business owners with the means to do their day-to-day transactions. With this account, business owners will have a single point of contact that will take care of all their needs. There are different types of accounts to suit different needs. These include Attorney trust accounts and Executor’s accounts. Furthermore, the current account is the starting point for all facilities with Standard Bank. This is because all the other products are linked to them. Also, business clients have the option to use the following additional services:
- Business Plans and
- Accounting Software
Business and Corporate Card Solutions
There are different cards to suit the needs of businesses. Also, customers have the option between debit or credit cards. From those who have simplified transaction needs to those who are specialists in different fields. Furthermore, some of the credit card offers include:
- Forex Lodge Card
- Garage Card
- Diners Club Virtual Card
- Individual Corporate Card
- Aviation Card
- Procurement Card
- Travel Lodge Card
- Diners Club Courier Card
Those in the retail trade will find this service to be invaluable. A merchant device allows them to have access to a market that doesn’t carry around cash. This service is also available to other industries who can’t afford to miss out on payments due to a cashless society.
Having large amounts of cash on the floor can be a risk to a business owner and staff. It is important that the business makes use of cash solutions to carry the risk for them. There are different solutions for businesses, such as:
- Float and Payroll Management
- Value Hosting
- Cash Upload
- Cash in Transit
- End to End
This is the ideal solution for businesses who need to manage their cash flow in between project payments.
There are various types of properties for commercial use. This type of loan is ideal for those who wish to purchase the premises for consulting rooms, professional rooms, home offices, home shops, bed & breakfasts, home photography studios, nursing schools, home laundries, and more. There are some types of properties that are excluded from this.
Business Revolving Credit Plan
A revolving credit line is ideal for those who constantly need to have access to working capital for growth in the business. Unlike an overdraft facility, this line of credit has a fixed monthly repayment term. Customers have access to their credit line immediately and don’t need to reapply.
Business Term Loan
This type of loan is a once-off type of loan that provides capital for specific projects. Customers who wish to have access to the capital again will need to reapply. Customers will be a monthly installment on this type of finance.
Medium Term Loan
This type of finance allows customers to have a slightly smaller installment thanks to the slightly longer term. Furthermore, this is the ideal loan for those who wish to fund their growth projects. This is also the ideal loan for those who wish to purchase another business.
Vehicle and Asset Finance
Apart from fleets of vehicles and specialized equipment, vehicle and asset finance can cover a large range of items. Customers who find themselves in the transport, mining, agriculture, construction, franchising, public sector, aviation, medical, IT, and fleet management fields should find a financing solution to meet their needs. This type of finance eases the business of the burden of a once-off payment which strengthens the cash flow. Some of the finance types in this category include:
- Access Finance
- Financial Lease
- Fleet Management
- Interim Agreement
- Instalment Sale
Commercial Property Finance
This option is suited for those who wish to purchase their own commercial property. This could be as an investment or as an owner-occupied property.
32-Day Notice Deposit
This option is suitable for those who don’t want access to their cash, at least for 33 days. The account provides competitive interest rates. Furthermore, the interest is calculated on daily balances.
Call Deposit Account
The customer has the option to decide the term of the investment, as there are many options available. These accounts allow access to the funds when needed. Furthermore, clients have the option to transfer funds between the different accounts with ease.
Fixed Deposit Account
There are various options for fixed deposit accounts that range between 33 days and 5 years. Customers who wish to access their funds before maturity, however, may have to pay penalty fees. The account provides a fixed interest rate. Furthermore, this is a dependable investment tool as the outcome is predictable.
This account provides interest on a card-linked account. This allows customers to have access to their account and still experience growth. Furthermore, the customer chooses the daily and monthly withdrawal limits.
MoneyMarket Call Account
Business funds are available on demand. Furthermore, this account can also be linked to a transactional account which allows the business to experience growth on surplus funds. Also, the availability of funds means that the business won’t experience cash flow issues.
Business Flexi Advantage
This account is a fixed investment that allows access to a portion of the funds. Furthermore, there are no penalty fees for accessing the allowable portion.
Online Share Trading
Customers have access to products such as shares, futures contracts, exchange-traded funds, contracts for differences, options strategies, and warrants.
Business insurances are often tailored to the industries, as the different types of industries have different needs.
Specialized insurance that includes cover for crops, livestock, farming equipment, and other assets.
There are a variety of different short-term insurance products available for businesses. Furthermore, these include:
- Commercial multi-peril
- Truck and heavy commercial vehicles
- Events liability
- AutoSafe cash in transit
- Franchising and
- Directors and officers
Other advice includes:
- Commercial property
- Marine insurance and
- Vehicle and asset finance
There are some risks that individuals may not have to face, however, corporates do. This insurance type provides corporates with the peace of mind that their operational requirements are covered.
Small Business Insurance
Specialized insurance for the small business owner. This type of insurance covers the unique challenges business owners in this segment may face.
Standard Bank Corporate Banking Product Offerings
This division takes care of national businesses or businesses that operate at a certain turnover. Some of the sectors that also fall into this category include consumer, financial institutions, mining and metals, oil and gas, power and infrastructure, and real estate.
This division of the bank takes care of the special needs of the corporates. These include
- Corporate finance advisory
- Exchange control advisory and
Corporates have different finance needs to those of small businesses and individuals. Furthermore, some of the finance solutions at the bank include:
- Debt primary markets
- Diversified lending and leverage
- Equity capital markets
- Project and export finance
- Real estate finance and
- Structured trade and commodity finance
Corporates often have dealings beyond the borders, and the bank provides the necessary services to make transacting smoother.
- Client solutions
- Credit Trading
- Equity derivatives
- Exchange traded products and
- Foreign exchange
Mass transactions require special services.
- Cash management
- International trade services
- Investor services
- SWIFT for corporates and
- Transactional channels, including Business Online
Review of Standard Bank
Customer satisfaction reviews
South African Customer Satisfaction Index
Of the big four banks of South Africa, Standard Bank sits at the bottom where customer satisfaction is concerned. Standard Bank scored 73.7.
This measure is more for staff satisfaction. It also details how likely staff members are to promote the bank to their family and friends. Furthermore, this also indicates the level of satisfaction with the management and CEO. Finally, the bank scores a satisfactory 4 of 5.
Once again a consumer satisfaction site. Also, the rating of 2.9 of 10 places them in 4th position of the top 5 banks in South Africa.
Financial Stability Rating
Moody’s downgraded the four largest banks in South Africa in 2015, however, maintained the ratings in 2016. Fitch’s ratings remained the same. The biggest cause of concern was the political climate at the time.
Security of Funds
There are no deposit insurance schemes in South Africa.
Review by Critical Reviews – 6 of 10
The bank services millions of customers across the world. Although it breaks through the African ceiling in terms of growth, there are a few concerns that need to be addressed. The bank seems to attract a fair amount of market share and carries a significant asset and liability book. It does fail in the sense of customer service, which could cause a leaking bucket. Pole position as the top bank in Africa could go to a competitor. This is if this is not carefully monitored.
Another concern covers all the South African Banks. This is also the fact that deposits with the institutions are not backed by insurance. Furthermore, this was evident in the case of Saambou bank which collapsed in 2002. Thousands of investors lost their livelihood through this collapse. That being said, the fact that the banks also adhere to the strict guidelines of the fiscal policies are good. Also, the Reserve Bank policies strengthen them throughout tough times. They conform to Basel II, which creates a sense of security. Finally, this alone provides peace of mind for investors who are afraid of subprime issues that face American and European banks.