First National Bank (FNB) and the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) on Monday launched an initiative to streamline the process of registering a company, while opening a corporate bank account, which should make it easier for individuals to start a business.
Entrepreneurs wanting to open a corporate bank account with FNB, now had the opportunity to simultaneously register their companies with the CIPC through the FNB online facility, at the CIPC’s prescribed fee of R125.
The company registration would take 24 hours and eliminated the need for intermediary agents to facilitate the process.
The CIPC would rely on FNB to conduct the identity verification required by the Companies Act and the Financial Intelligence Centre Act prior to the registration of the enterprise.
The bank would then send the identity verification and residential information through to the CIPC for verification. After the verification is concluded and the customer is registered with the CIPC, payment would be required.
Speaking at the launch, Trade and Industry (DTI) Minister Dr Rob Davies stated that this initiative was in line with the department’s focus on continuous improvement and the reduction of red tape for the end-user.
CIPC commissioner Astrid Ludin reiterated this, stating that, “the process is instantaneous and will reduce red tape, improve service delivery and be more accessible to the broader public, while also improving the integrity of the register and reducing the turnaround time”.
Davies emphasised the importance of partnerships in reducing red tape, adding that the project was a public–private partnership in the true sense of the term, where government and the bank partnered to offer their different products to mutual customers through an integrated process.
He also pointed out that the Companies Act had specifically included a provision to allow companies to trade with only a company registration number.
“Through this provision, companies can start operating immediately after the 24-hour registration period has been completed, instead of waiting up to 20 days for the company name registration to be completed,” he said.
Meanwhile, FNB incoming CEO Jacques Celliers stated that the bank took small, micro and medium-sized enterprises seriously, as these formed an integral part of the South African economy, fuelled innovation and created jobs.
“This innovative approach is the first on a global level and we are proud of what we have done. The partnership speaks to more than just enablement. It provides an opportunity for the future and we see this as a first start to a number of initiatives we aim to implement to simplify people’s daily lives,” Celliers said.
Davies added that the DTI would like to see this initiative applied across the banking sector.
The collaboration with FNB formed part of the CIPC’s strategy to roll-out a series of end-user services to increase efficiencies and reduce inefficient manual services. CIPC engaged various banks and designed its systems in such a way that all banks can connect to it; however, FNB was the first mover in adopting the technology.
Other banks that were approached by the CIPC included Nedbank, which expressed interest in the initiative, and Absa and Standard Bank, which were still considering the proposal.