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Banking industry to tackle transformation

By Linda Ensor | 2017-09-06 12:19:50.0

The banking industry has decided to take a far more “robust” approach to transformation of the sector‚ Banking Association SA MD Cas Coovadia said.

Banks would be proactively seeking to achieve equity representation at senior and executive management as well as to ensure that they procure from small and medium enterprises‚ Coovadia said in an address to the Cape Town Press Club.

Equity also needed to be achieved in the procurement of professional services such as legal‚ conveyancing and auditing. The sector also wants to broaden financial inclusion and increase the number of transactions conducted on bank accounts.

“We do want to become more robust and take charge of this process‚” Coovadia said.

 Rather than being dragged along‚ the industry wanted to make transformation its own agenda. If not‚ it would not be doing business in 20 years time as society would implode.

“We can’t wait. We just don’t have the luxury as a country.”

His comments come ahead of the finalisation of a report on the transformation of the financial services sector by parliament’s standing committee on finance.

Coovadia said all banks did pretty well in terms of racial representation at middle management level but needed to improve at senior and executive management.

It was a fact that banks were institutionally owned so broadening ownership was best achieved through diversifying the sector by developing cooperatives and niche banks.

“We believe that through a more diversified sector we will get more diversified ownership.”

Transformation and the inclusion of as many people as possible was difficult‚ however‚ when the economy was not growing.

Coovadia also noted that business had become more activist and vocal at the current political conjuncture‚ characterised by policy and political uncertainty‚ state capture and corruption.

A line had been drawn in the sand and business knew on which side line it stood.

“I don’t think we can remain apolitical anymore‚” he said.

 “Business is quite clear that we need to talk truth to power.”

There was a lot that business could do to implement the national development plan in the national interest.

 “We need to continue trying to keep confidence going in the country.”