home Business Banks Battle Telcos for Cash in South African Townships

Banks Battle Telcos for Cash in South African Townships

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Standard Bank Group Ltd. (SBK) hired Itumeleng Heymann to persuade her neighbors that for about $6 a month, their cash would be better off with Africa’s largest lender than in its current hiding place: under the bed.

 

For millions of Africans, a simple Nokia mobile phone acts as a bank account, allowing them to transfer funds with services like M-Pesa, run by Vodacom Group Ltd. (VOD) and Safaricom Ltd. (SAFCOM) Now Standard Bank is turning to an army of 1,000 township residents such as Heymann as it tries to block Vodacom, South Africa’s largest wireless operator, and companies like it from muscling in on the nation’s expanding banking market as they have in Kenya, Tanzania and elsewhere. So far, the banks are winning.

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