Capitec Bank is a commercial bank in the Republic of South Africa. It is one of the locally-controlled banks licensed by the Reserve Bank of South Africa, the South African national banking regulator.The bank operates as a retail bank that serves both individuals and businesses, but does not provide business banking for close corporations, companies, partnerships or trusts. It claims to focus on simplifying the banking experience, according to their literature. The bank maintains over 500 retail branches nationwide and has over 3.7 million customers. As of August 2010, the asset base of Capitec Bank was in excess of US$739 million, with shareholders' ...view middle of the document...
Shareholders' funds – R8.5 billion
New jobs created – 1 114
What has been the most defining moment of your career and what did you learn from it?
The most significant event was deciding to start the Capitec Bank venture. It was the first real start-up venture I was involved in and I didn’t realise at the time what it would take to build.
What was the most important lesson you learned starting the company?
I learned about the gap that can exist between your vision and strategy and the actual implementation of it. When we started on the Capitec project we overestimated our ability to implement and learned how important it is to tie the vision to how you are going to carry it out. I learned to plan things more carefully and also to ensure that you take the whole team with you.
What have you had to work particularly hard at mastering?
I am not the most patient person andI’m not that inclined to spend too much time on the finer details of things.These are things I continually work on improving but at the same time I implement strategies to make up for my lack of strength in those areas. I always ensure I have strict quality controls in place to make sure that whileI’m driving results, things don’t fall through the cracks, and I always have a detail-driven person on my team.
What has been your most humbling business experience?
When we started Capitec Bank analysts were very skeptical about our ability to succeed. It was a good reality check,however, because it made us realise how very hard we’d have to work to make the company successful.
In tough economic times, what advice would you give to existing and aspirantentrepreneurs?
Focus on the opportunities, not on the negative aspects of the downturn. Instead of looking at where you have to cut costs, look at how you can maximise the opportunities that exist with your existing capacity. It is possible – sometimes it just requires a bit of creative thinking.
What are the most interesting changes you’ve seen in the financial services sector during your career, and where do you see the most significant changes in the future?
I expected to see more non-banks enter the banking arena and this didn’t happen. The most significant change I’ve witnessed is banks’ increasing disinclination to interface directly with customers. Looking to the future I believe the banking market needs to provide more user-friendly instruments, particularly to facilitate payments. This is especially relevant to the mass market. I think the credit crunch has shown us that existing credit models are no longer relevant and I believe we will see a range of different approaches to providing credit in future.
Former Chief Executive Officer of Capitec
Born 12-08-1953 in Calitzdorp South Africa
Riaan Stassen was the Chief Executive Officer for Capitec Bank Holdings Limited. He is also a registered charted Accountant of South...