Tough year for South Africa, warns FirstRand – but Africa is booming

by MMC
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Alan Pullinger, CEO of FirstRand.

Alan Pullinger, CEO of FirstRand.

FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger has warned of a difficult year ahead for the group and its customers in South Africa, with interest rates at their highest level in 14 years and continued inflationary pressures weighing on on consumers, dampening demand for loans and increasing the risk of higher credit losses.

Pullinger, who has been at the helm of South Africa’s largest banking group since 2018, made the comments shortly after FirstRand reported a 12% rise in normalized attributable profit to R36.7 billion for the financial year ended at the end of June. The group also declared an annual dividend of 384 cents, 12% higher than the previous year, and said its main underlying business units – FNB, RMB, WesBank and Aldermore in the UK – remained resilient despite economic headwinds.

“The next 12 months are going to be difficult – all the things that cause pain will probably still be there in the next 12 months,” Pullinger told News24.

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