South Africa has witnessed a historic moment with the approval of the Young Women in Business Network (YWBN) Mutual Bank license by the South African Reserve Bank’s Prudential Authority (PA), with concurrence from the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) under Section 126 of the Financial Sector Regulation Act, 2017. This landmark decision paves the way for the establishment of South Africa’s first majority Black women-owned bank. This marks a pivotal moment in the country’s financial landscape.
YWBN’s vision for a women-owned bank first surfaced in 2018 when it announced its intention to transition from a cooperative financial institution (CFI) to a fully-fledged mutual bank. This transformation would enable the organization to expand its services beyond its members and contribute more substantially to the financial services sector.
However, the road to obtaining the mutual banking license was not without its challenges. In 2021, YWBN encountered regulatory hurdles related to its ‘Own The Bank’ share scheme, leading to setbacks and the repayment of raised funds. Despite these obstacles, the organization remained steadfast in its pursuit and successfully navigated the regulatory landscape.
With the granting of the mutual banking license, YWBN emerges as a trailblazer, achieving several notable distinctions. It is not only the first majority women-owned bank in South Africa but also the first black women-owned bank and the first CFI to receive such a license. This achievement underscores YWBN’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within the financial sector.
Mutual banks, characterized by depositor ownership and a focus on conservative financial practices, occupy a unique position within the banking landscape. YWBN Mutual Bank aims to leverage this model to offer savings and loan products tailored to the needs of small businesses and marginalized communities. With a particular emphasis on serving the unbanked and underserved populations, the bank seeks to foster financial empowerment and inclusion.
Looking ahead, YWBN Mutual Bank’s focus turns to building its infrastructure, raising capital, and establishing its network to better serve its target communities. While a commercial launch date is yet to be finalized, the organization remains steadfast in its commitment to realizing its vision. As Managing Director Nthabeleng Likotsi aptly puts it, “We have been waiting for this for nine years – what is one more?”
Indeed, the journey towards financial empowerment and inclusion is ongoing, with YWBN Mutual Bank poised to play a transformative role in redefining the banking landscape in South Africa and beyond.
Young Women in Business Network (YWBN) is a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) association seeking to economically empower Women and Men in South Africa, through networking, business development and investment initiatives. YWBN is owned, controlled and managed by women for women from various professions, businesses and industries and dedicated to the economic empowerment of Wo(men). We are active young business women with entrepreneurial flair who are innovation-focused, resilient and results-driven
Press Briefing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEYe7Tb-T-M