Johannesburg — POSTBANK, the savings division of the South African Post Office, has registered about 850000 new Mzansi accounts since the inception of the low-cost banking product 17 months ago.
Postbank's customer base now stands at 3,8-million, and it manages more than R2,3bn in savings.
According to the latest provisional figures released by the Banking Association of SA, the Postbank held 40,1% of the Mzansi account market at the end of March this year.
SA's four major banking groups have also increased their market share, with Absa now holding 27,3% of the market; Nedbank has 12,1% while First National Bank and Standard Bank command 11,9% and 8,6% respectively.
Postbank MD Tostie Memela-Khambule this week attributed the increase in new account holders to the parastatal's decision to leverage on the extensive network of the Post Office to reach even the remotest corners of the country.
The Post Office has 2 550 outlets throughout the country, and it delivers more than six million letters daily to 10-million addresses in SA.
Earlier this week the Postbank linked up with Visa to enable its customers to pay for transactions with debit and credit cards.
The Postbank said the new Visa Electron cards would not only reduce cash handling risks, but also help boost customer service. More than 200000 Visa Electron cards have already been issued to Postbank customers.
Post Office CEO Khutso Mampeule said recently that the parastatal had experienced a "healthy growth" in the year to March this year.
Mampeule said preliminary results showed that operating profit rose 97% to R266m from R135m previously and the plan was to increase this to R354m in 2006-07.