IMF published its staff report and selected issues report under the 2019 Article IV consultation with South Africa. The IMF Directors welcomed resilience of the financial sector and called for continued vigilance, given the recent pick up in unsecured lending. They also encouraged SARB to use the forthcoming Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) as an opportunity to further strengthen its supervisory and regulatory framework. Directors welcomed the entry of new players and technological innovations to promote financial inclusion.
The staff report highlights that the financial sector is strong and resilient but exposed to weak economic growth, given its high interconnectedness and the vulnerabilities in small banks. Banks are fully compliant with the Basel III solvency and liquidity requirements. Solvency risk is low, although non-performing loans, or NPLs, have risen (to 3.8% of gross loans). Unsecured lending picked up in banks looking to boost profit and the resolution framework is being buttressed. To further enhance resilience of the system, the authorities have sought assistance from international bodies. Amid low growth and increasing competition, financial stability should be preserved while advancing progress on financial inclusion.
The report further notes that the recent increase in unsecured lending and vulnerabilities in small and medium-size banks warrant close monitoring. The commitment of SARB to adapt supervision to the rising risks from the subdued economy and changes in banks’ business models is welcome. The early warning system and crisis management framework need to be strengthened by complementing stress testing with assessments of domestic and cross-border interconnectedness and enhancing the resolution regime, including the deposit insurance scheme. Enhancements to stress testing are expected to assist risk identification and improve supervision of riskier banks. The fintech space has expanded, particularly in payment services, which, together with the entry of several new banks, could reduce fees and improve access to financial products. Going forward, deepening the local corporate bond markets would help widen the pool of high-quality liquid assets and reduce the sovereign-bank nexus. Promulgation of the bank resolution bill is expected in 2020.
Keywords: Middle East and Africa, South Africa, Banking, Article IV, FSAP, Fintech, Stress Testing, Basel III, NPLs, Crisis Management Framework, IMF
APRA issued a letter on the loss-absorbing capacity (LAC) requirements for domestic systemically important banks (D-SIBs) and published a discussion paper, along with the proposed the prudential standards on financial contingency planning (CPS 190) and resolution planning (CPS 900).
The European Commission (EC) launched a call for evidence, until March 18, 2022, as part of a comprehensive review of the macro-prudential rules for the banking sector under the Capital Requirements Regulation (CRR) and Directive (CRD IV).
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) published a report that sets out good practices for crisis management groups.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) found that Heritage Bank Limited had incorrectly reported capital because of weaknesses in operational risk and compliance frameworks, although the bank did not breach minimum prudential capital ratios at any point and remains well-capitalized.
The Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) released the annual report for 2020-2021.
Through a letter addressed to the banking sector entities, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced deferral of the domestic implementation of the final Basel III reforms from the first to the second quarter of 2023.
EIOPA recently published a letter in which EC is informing the European Parliament and Council that it could not adopt the set of draft regulatory technical standards for disclosures under the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) within the stipulated three-month period, given their length and technical detail.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published the third in a series of policy statements that set out rules to introduce the UK Investment Firm Prudential Regime (IFPR), which will take effect on January 01, 2022.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) published, along with a summary of its response to the consultation feedback, an information paper that summarizes the finalized capital framework that is in line with the internationally agreed Basel III requirements for banks.
The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) issued a consultative report focusing on access to central counterparty (CCP) clearing and client-position portability.