Mercantile Bank launches SA’s first private bank for entrepreneurs

Tom Stilwell, head of Mercantile Private Bank popping champagne with Karl Kumbier, the chief executive officer of Mercantile Bank. Tom Stilwell, head of Mercantile Private Bank popping champagne with Karl Kumbier, the chief executive officer of Mercantile Bank.

Mercantile Bank, a specialist financial institution, recently launched Mercantile Private Bank. This is the country’s only private bank catering exclusively for entrepreneurs.

Tom Stilwell, head of Mercantile Private Bank says South Africa has needed a private bank that understands entrepreneurs, their challenges and aspirations.

“We don’t see entrepreneurs as a risk like other banks do. This is what makes us unique,” Stilwell says. “Our sole purpose is to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses. Five decades of experience in this niched sector has led to the establishment of Mercantile Private Bank.”

Every private bank claims to be different, but this one really is. “We understand what entrepreneurs want and how they want to be treated. We don’t think banking should be an anonymous, frustrating and disempowering process. This is why in building this business we’ve kept the best parts of old school traditional banking, giving entrepreneurs everything they need and nothing they don’t,” he says.

This is what entrepreneurs can expect:

  • No salary-slip mind set: Mercantile Bank statistics show that only 30% of business owners home loan applications are successful. This is why Mercantile Private Bank doesn’t believe in applying the traditional retail bank scorecard approach – it views the entrepreneur holistically and has a much more comprehensive approach to lending.
  • Credit approvals within 24 hours if all required information has been supplied.
  • Signing up is paperless: a tablet based process completed at the business owner’s home or the office is quick and simple, removing the need for stacks of forms.
  • A dedicated relationship manager: business owners have direct contact with their respective relationship managers, ensuring that all banking needs are met.
  • Small portfolios, always: relationship managers can actually get to know the entrepreneur and the business, and are available when needed.

“We believe that entrepreneurs are critical contributors to the economic growth of South Africa. This is why we’ve created something that is relevant for this sector, and the best part? You don’t have to be ultra-rich to access it,” he says. 

Mercantile Private Bank has partnered with Citadel Wealth Management, one of South Africa’s most respected wealth management companies, to advise business owners on how to grow, preserve and manage their wealth. 

For one competitive flat monthly fee, clients get unlimited basic transactions, internet banking and a Black entrepreneur credit card. Mercantile Private Bank also has a strategic partnership with Commrisk, an established national insurance brokerage to cater for all of a client’s insurance needs.

The bank’s loyalty programme gives entrepreneurs access to premier lounges at airports around South Africa. Clients can also download a bespoke loyalty app which allows them to use their loyalty rewards on a wide range of goods and services at a number of well-known retailers.

Private Bank services are available to business owners who earn more than R500,000 a year.

Mercantile Private Bank, like Mercantile Bank, never wants to be a big bank because it believes size does matter. Entrepreneurs deserve an attentive banking experience built on relationships and a deep understanding of South African business owners. 

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