SOUTH Africa’s banking top brass were locked in discussions with Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and National Treasury officials for roughly three-and-a-half hours on Monday morning, in a session one of the bankers described as positive for the industry and government.
Unsecured lending was confirmed to have been discussed.
"We did discuss unsecured lending … simply the rapid growth in unsecured loans and the possible impact on the consumer," Capitec CEO Riaan Stassen said after the meeting.
"It was a very open and frank discussion. I think it was quite constructive, hopefully we can meet more regularly with the minister. I think there is a lot to be discussed with the government and banks in particular."
Business Day reported earlier this month that the National Credit Regulator wanted stricter rules and tighter monitoring of unsecured lending. In a report submitted to Parliament on August 3, the regulator raised concern about the cost of insurance policies to cover unsecured lending. It said the rand value of unsecured credit granted in the first quarter of 2012 rose to R21.9bn, from R16.7bn a year earlier and against R26.5bn in the fourth quarter of 2011.
More details about Monday’s meeting are expected to come out later in the day.
Business Day understands that the bankers arrived at the National Treasury offices in Pretoria at 6.30am for a caucus in preparation for the meeting with the minister, which started at 7.30am and ended at about 11am. It was well attended, with representatives from all of the big four banks as well as unsecured lenders and international banks.
FirstRand chairman Laurie Dippenaar said "the meeting was friendly, cordial and constructive. It’s important that private sector and government work together."
Mr Dippenaar did not want to be drawn on further details.
The National Treasury and the banking industry are expected to issue a press statement later today.