Discovery Bank disburses over R1bn in credit

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Digital bank, Discovery Bank, has revealed it now has 78 000 clients with 180 000 accounts.

For the six months ended 31 December 2019, the bank attracted deposits of R1.2 billion, and over R1 billion in credit facility was used.

The bank released its half-year results showing total credit card spend was R2.6 billion and total credit limits granted sat at R2.5 billion.

“Early member engagement is positive and the client base is exhibiting appealing spend, credit, arrears and deposit behaviour, better than the performance of the previous Discovery Card and considerably better than the market,” reads a statement to shareholders.

“Growth potential is strong with over 200 000 accounts that still need to be migrated from the FNB Joint Venture, and the activation of Discovery's advisor channels to sell bank accounts in the second half of the year.”

Discovery Bank says during the period under review, focus was on leveraging key strategic advantages to build a retail-heavy bank of scale, “demonstrating the efficacy of the Vitality Shared-Value model in banking and creating an appealing customer proposition, using Discovery's unique data capability, and executing on a lower cost-to-income fintech infrastructure ‒ ultimately ensuring the bank is a composite maker for the group”.

Discovery first announced its digital bank in November 2018. It launched in March last year, when it touted the new offering as the “world’s first behavioural bank” and a fully digital bank that can be joined by anyone with a smartphone.

Discovery Bank is one of the digital banks that are believed will shake-up the South African retail banking sector because they are not stuck with legacy technologies and have cheaper fees. The other players are TymeBank and Bank Zero.

TymeBank, which bills itself as SA's first digital-only bank, wholly-owned by billionaire Patrice Motsepe's African Rainbow Capital, launched to the South African public last year.

TymeBank signed up one million customers in the nine months following its official launch at the end of February 2019.

Bank Zero announced at the end of 2019 that it is ready to launch public operations in the first half of this year, following its announcement it had gone live with its debit card.

The bank, which is entirely app-driven on smartphones, said following this card go-live, rigorous health-checks such as simulated card attacks, card fraud detection and retailer readiness were under way.

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