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Relative newcomer TymeBank has been crowned News24 Bank of the Year.

Acknowledging the relatively brief length of time the bank has been operating, CEO and co-founder Coen Jonker said the team had worked to succeed against the odds.

“If you do something in life that is hard, that is against the odds, and that makes [it] an attempt at doing something transformative,” said Jonker.

“The starting point is really to know why you are doing this…for us, it is really our customers.”

A major stress for many South Africans is money, he said, so empowering these customers to deal with their money was crucial.

The News24 Business Awards were designed to recognise companies who are doing excellent work in building their businesses, while also going above and beyond in client service, communication and their contribution to South Africa.

The News24 Bank of the Year was judged on tough criteria. It had to achieve excellent scores for its client service, platform and value proposition among its customers, surveyed as part of a poll of 4 100 of News24 readers and subscribers.

The banks also faced scrutiny from our team, and there was fierce debate about innovation and execution of strategy in the sector.

TymeBank built a customer base of more than 8 million and achieved profitability in less than five years. It moved fast with a determined and unconventional approach to banking, and is now also growing rapidly in Southeast Asia.

Some of its innovations included the ability to open a bank account in under five minutes; offering the highest fixed deposit savings rate of 11%; the launch of interest-free Grant Advance for social grant recipients; and the launch of the buy-now-pay-later product, MoreTyme at a time when the concept was relatively unknown in South Africa.

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