Mercantile Bank has opened South Africa’s first purpose-built business centre for entrepreneurs. The flagship centre in Sandton, Johannesburg, is the first of its kind to improve the ease of banking by speeding up transacting and reducing the time a business owner has to spend attending to financial administration.
The centre was opened by Karl Kumbier, CEO of Mercantile Bank together with Portugal’s Deputy Minister of Economy, Investment and Innovation, Pedro Gonçalves, and Gauteng Premier, David Makhura.
Speaking at the opening, Kumbier said Mercantile Bank’s ties with entrepreneurs extend back several decades. “We have a deep understanding of the needs of the South African entrepreneur and this is why we wanted our business centres to cater exclusively for business owners,” he said. “Established businesses deserve more attention as they fuel South Africa’s economic growth and create employment.”
Gonçalves said that Portugal values its economic, historical and cultural relationship with South Africa. Mercantile Bank has got strong ties with Portugal through its parent company Caixa Geral de Depósitos, a Portuguese government-owned international banking group. “We are honoured to participate in the opening of this business centre. While Mercantile Bank operates exclusively in South Africa, it has reach into other key African markets through its parent company and their subsidiaries in Angola and Mozambique. There is an ongoing focus on capturing trade flows between these fast-growing economies,” he says.
The new centres in Sandton, Menlyn and Horizon in Gauteng are equipped with facilities to improve the ease of banking for entrepreneurs. The centres have on-site bulk cash recycling machines that enable safe withdrawal, deposit and counting of large amounts of cash. Business owners who do not have access to facilities such as meeting rooms can also book a boardroom at the bank where they can meet with clients.
Kumbier says the financial services market is dominated by larger banks operating in a very competitive space. Mercantile is a niche bank that specialises in providing financial products and services to entrepreneurs and wanted its brand to better represent what its clients need from a business bank.
“Our business centres form part of our strategy to streamline banking for our clients in a functional and modern banking environment,” says Kumbier. “Our new brand is built around our vision to be the bank of choice for business owners and to double its size in the next five years.”
The bank has a national footprint of 15 fully transactional business centres in four provinces – Gauteng, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State.