The strengthening of the bank that was created from remaining good assets of the mass market micro-lender that collapsed in 2014 is even more impressive when considering the surrounding landscape. Various other South African banks have been moving in the opposite direction, having had their credit ratings downgraded in the wake of the country’s sovereign downgrade earlier this month.

In fact, African Bank said, S&P had noted that it had balanced the bank’s strong capital levels and limited medium-term refinancing risks against the weak economic environment that could negatively impact its earnings and stability, as well as longer term risk that its funding was susceptible to investor confidence.

S&P revised the bank’s outlook from negative to stable and affirmed its ‘B+/B’ global scale rating. Its national scale rating was raised to zaBB from zaBB-.

The global ratings agency had pointed to African Bank’s “markedly” improved capitalisation, which was largely due to a significant reduction in the balance sheet and better-than-expected earnings.

The bank’s financial results for the six months to the end of March are scheduled to be released on May 23.