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South African Post Office unit Postbank to register as a bank

South Africa's Post Office Group intends to register its financial services unit, Postbank, as a bank by July 3, Reuters reported, citing a document submitted to parliament.

The document showed Postbank to have 1.4 billion rand in excess capital, enough to meet regulatory minimum requirements for a bank, according to the Jan. 31 report.

The group's decision places the company in an extremely competitive environment dominated by established banks such as Barclays Africa Group Ltd. and Standard Bank Group Ltd., the newswire noted. However, group CEO Mark Barnes told lawmakers that the company's 2,500 branches across the country gives it a presence even in the most far-flung areas and allows it to effectively disburse government welfare grants.

Postbank's reorganization is part of the government's financial inclusion strategy.

As of Jan. 30, US$1 was equivalent to 13.51 South African rand.