Investec topped the South Africa performance rankings and climbed up 63 places in the overall Top 1000 ranking. Its ‘Big Four’ peers fared less well.

Investec has secured the crown of South Africa’s best-performing lender for the second year running. Despite being one of the country’s smaller lenders — its asset base base is around a fifth the size of the country’s largest lender Standard Bank — Investec took first position in four out of the eight measures tracked in the 2021 performance rankings.

The bank’s chart-topping performance in asset quality in particular stands out. After a tough year for South African lenders, Investec’s non-performing loan ratio stood at just 2.6% for the year ending March 2021, compared with 4.37% (as of December 2020) for FirstRand, the next best performer in the country.

Besides its strong showing in the performance category, Investec — which completed the demerger of its Ninety One asset management business in March 2020 — was the only one of South Africa’s top five lenders to boost its showing in the main Top 1000. It rose 63 places to number 400 in the main ranking, with its Tier 1 capital base growing by 40.8% to $3.05bn.

Comfortably retaining its position as the continent’s largest lender, Standard Bank comes second in South Africa’s performance rankings, up one place from 2020. The bank registered the country’s best score for liquidity, its loans to asset ratio dropping from 53.44% to 52.08% for 2020. Standard Bank scored second best in terms of growth, asset quality and soundness, and was the only lender in the country’s top five other than Investec to record a growth in its total loan book for the year, rising 3.6% to $89.8bn.

Though Standard Bank’s Tier 1 capital base grew by 5.8% to $11.2bn, it slipped back five places in the main Top 1000 ranking, to 157th place.

FirstRand, Absa and Nedbank — which, together with Standard Bank, make up Africa’s ‘Big Four’ — also lost ground in the Top 1000, with each registering a drop in Tier 1 capital. FirstRand, which saw its Tier 1 capital position fall 15.5% year-on-year to the end of June 2020, dropped 31 places to 200th position. Absa and Nedbank, which registered single-digit declines, fell 15 places to 205 and 33 places to 265, respectively.

Despite trailing FirstRand and Absa in the main Top 1000 ranking, Nedbank is third in the country’s overall performance table, thanks largely to its stronger showing in the operational efficiency and liquidity metrics. Its growth success was manifested in its deposit base, which grew by 2.32% to $64.1bn in 2020, compared with declines at both FirstRand and Absa. Nedbank ranks second in liquidity behind Standard Bank, its loan-to-deposit ratio decreasing from 69.64% to 66.74% for the year.


All fields are mandatory

The Banker is a service from the Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd takes your privacy seriously.

Choose how you want us to contact you.

Invites and Offers from The Banker

Receive exclusive personalised event invitations, carefully curated offers and promotions from The Banker

For more information about how we use your data, please refer to our privacy and cookie policies.

Terms and conditions

Top 1000 2023

Request a demonstration to The Banker Database

Join our community

The Banker on Twitter