THE 14th annual GBS Mutual Bank dinner for clients in Port Alfred and surrounding areas was held at the Port Alfred High School hall last week.
Delivering the speech, GBS CEO Anton Vorster said: “At the GBS we are proud of our roots here which go back to 1877, and we have no plans of moving any time soon! Next year we will be a sprightly 140 years old.”
GBS held its AGM earlier this year and announced satisfactory results in a tough year for the financial services industry.
“Our profit after tax of R5.5-million strengthened the capital base of the bank and the balance sheet was up 6.2% to R1.15-billion. All of this thanks, and I want to emphasise this, to the fantastic support we get from our clients here in Port Alfred, Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town,” Vorster said.
“[Port Alfred] branch continues to grow deposits and about a quarter of all the bank deposits come from this branch.”
He said FICA was a four letter word to most bankers and mentioned the fine GBS received, which was dealt with at the AGM and in the annual report.
“We are disappointed with the fine, but are certainly not alone: as far as we know, not a single bank has avoided a fine. We continue to work hard on addressing what is very onerous legislation via improved technology and staff development, and we ask for patience from our clients. It is as frustrating for us as it is for you,” Vorster said.
He said the bank’s continued strength would not be possible without committed and hardworking staff at head office and the branches.
He especially mentioned two head office staff who retired recently who had almost 80 years of service between them. Tony Reynolds spent 37 years at the bank and Delene Elliott almost 40 years.
In Port Alfred, Rose Parker took a second “retirement” after many years in service, but even after that is still assisting with FICA requirements.
Vorster mentioned GBS’s involvement in various community projects, including being the main sponsor of Sunshine Coast Hospice’s Stride with Pride fundraiser, supporting the Child Welfare Kenton/Bushman’s fun run, and supporting Somerset Place by sponsoring 76-year-old Ben Bezuidenhout’s fundraising initiative of running from Port Elizabeth to Grahamstown.
GBS also makes significant contributions to schools and Rhodes University, and Vorster voiced his concern about the disruptions in higher education.
“I fail to see how a group of students somehow believe they have a greater right to protest than the majority of students who wish to continue with lectures. I sincerely hope that the academic programme for the year is allowed to complete as the alternative is singularly unattractive,” he said.
On the positive side, he said the recent municipal elections showed that democracy can deliver change.
Something new to look out for in future is that GBS plans to introduce transactional banking via a GBS branded card.