Bongiwe Kunene has been appointed the new managing director of the Banking Association South Africa, replacing Cas Coovadia, who will be retiring from the industry body.

Kunene’s term will commence on April 1, the association said in a statement issued on Tuesday. 

She is currently Standard Bank’s personal and business banking group head for the public sector. She also has experience in the public sector, having also served in Treasury and the Presidency.

Kunene was previously also World Bank Executive Director representing South Africa, Nigeria and Angola. She holds a Master of Science in Development Economics from the University of London.

“I look forward to working with our members and industry stakeholders to help ensure the continued resilience of our banks in the service of our customers, shareholders and the development of our country,” she said. 

Basa chairperson and CEO of Nedbank, Mike Brown, said Kunene joins the association at an “extremely challenging” time for the SA economy and the banking sector and its customers.

“In recent weeks this has been exacerbated by the human and economic challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is having unprecedented impacts around the world.

“Having been a leader during the emerging market crisis of 1998 and the global financial crisis of 2008, Ms Kunene brings with her a wealth of experience on how we can best respond to the current challenges,” said Brown.

The association’s board thanked Coovadia for his contribution to the association.

In recent days several banks have introduced Covid-19 payment relief programmes, which include payment holidays for qualifying customers and banks have also agreed to waive Saswitch penalty fees at ATMs during the lockdown.

Banks have also been classified as essential service providers and will continue to operate during the lockdown period.


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