Ahead of bank reporting season in March, annual results from African Bank provide an insight into the depths of pain experienced by individual South Africans in the current economy. That said, the bank is in a unique situation, which may not be a reflection of the banking sector as a whole.
Whatever spin you put on it, it does not reflect well on a company when the CEO resigns suddenly, particularly the day before the presentation of the annual results and in the middle of a complex business turnaround.
And so it was with Basani Maluleke, who has been CEO of African Bank since April 2018 and who suddenly announced that she will leave the bank in April to pursue other "career opportunities".
When it comes to the financial results for the year to September 2020, it is not unexpected that SA's sixth-largest bank has not fared well in this challenging economic environment, made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and ensuing job losses.
Under the circumstances, the bank had no choice but to curb credit extension and impair a hefty portion of its book.
In addition, its sister company, African Insurance Group, which holds an investment in Guardrisk, has...