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H1 earnings up at South Africa’s biggest bank, may sell wealth management arm

Standard Bank, the Johannesburg-based lender, has posted increased headline earnings for the first half, although it paints a less rosy picture for the second half.

Standard Bank says its 18% growth in headline earnings was attributable to a strong lending climate with low rates of bad debt, with lending assets at its personal and business banking operation up by 28% in the half-year to June 30.

The bank said however that recent rises in interest rates meant that a more cautious outlook was in order for the rest of the year.

Chief financial officer Simon Ridley told Reuters that we can see a change in the environment … the increase in rates is likely to lead to higher bad debts and increased provisioning.

The bank is also planning to sell its stake in wealth management business Stanlib to its partner in the venture, Liberty Group, although this depends on the precise terms of the offer.