FACULTY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Banking Lecturer Petunia Matlala

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FACULTY IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Banking Lecturer Petunia Matlala


Recently appointed Milpark lecturer Petunia Matlala in the School of Investment and Banking shares her insights on the evolution of the banking industry in South Africa and how it has shaped her career.

Matlala hails from Garakgwadi in Limpopo. In 2003, she started her banking journey and grew her knowledge in different disciplines including retail, credit and private banking. She decided to join academia because of her passion for engaging with young adults, allowing them to embark on their banking careers. She shares her insights on the evolution of the banking industry.  

Q: How has the banking sector evolved in SA?

A: The emergence of mobile technology has changed how the banking industry delivers its services to customers. Previously, one had to walk into a branch for specific services but these days, those services can be done anywhere and at any time. The introduction of FICA and NCA regulations to address reckless borrowing or lending have also played a part. These developments have changed the way customers are transacting.  


Q: Which areas in the banking field do you think still need further development?

A: Cyber security is of paramount concern to customers. Recent high-profile security breaches and media commentary surrounding cyber-attacks have generated fear and uncertainty. Banks should take full responsibility for pursuing convictions for cyber-crime, even if it means they should own their own network to be able to put measures and controls. There’s a lack of awareness of cyber security to assure clients that they are safe and secured when using online banking. Many ordinary people still fear online banking thinking that hackers can steal their money.

Q: What are some of the crucial benefits for a student studying towards a qualification in banking?

A: Course instruction at Milpark Education reflects a mixture of theory and practice; it brings the workplace into the classroom. Our modules are designed in such a way that they provide theory for real working experience. The majority of modules owners (like me) have banking industry experience, which makes it easier to explain the theory to the students using practical examples. That is a huge benefit to our student.

Q: How is Milpark Education impacting on the overall student experience?

A: As a higher education institution, Milpark provides qualifications that meet the needs of the work place. The majority of our students are full time employed adults with competing priorities on their time. They expect value for money on the opportunity cost of their time. Milpark Education understands the expectations of these students and is providing “value added” aspects using online and tutoring to give students the support needed to reach their goals. 


Q: What is your area of specialisation in the banking sector?

A: I started as a teller in branch banking; thereafter I worked in all the roles in a branch. I become master of all trades! In the branch banking culture, we don’t specialise, we do everything when duty calls; business must operate even in the absence of other employees. Other duties that I performed within the banking institutions are credit banking for small businesses and personal banking.

Q: Do you think South Africa is ready for a branchless banking system?

A: Branchless banking concepts are attractive as clients can access services without the need to physically visit traditional bank branches leading to cost reduction on service fees. However, it’s still early for our banks to function fully on branchless banking. Even though technology has simplified banking, traditional banking and human interaction is still part of many South Africans’ lives.

Q: Your MBA research topic focused on “customer adoption of app-based banking” – how has app-based banking changed the industry in SA and the world?

A: Gone are the days where customers relied only on ATM machines or human interaction to transact. Today, banking is no longer about building a structure that protects your money, instead it’s a system that exists right on our doorstep. Since the inception of app banking, banking can be done anywhere, anytime at your fingertips. Smart devices have affected numerous areas of our lives and business. 

31 Jul 2017