S. African health insurer Discovery awarded banking licence

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 16 (Reuters) - South African health insurance group Discovery said it has been granted a banking licence, in a move that opens the way for it to pursue plans to set up a retail bank.

Discovery said last year that it would spend 2.1 billion rand ($158 million) to set up a retail bank based on the “behavioural model” it uses in life and health insurance to reward members for their choices.

Its shares rose 0.60 percent higher in early trade, in line with Johannesburg’s All-share index, which was 0.50 percent higher.

Discovery said the granting of the banking licence is subject to specific regulatory conditions and still needs approval from South Africa’s Competition Commission. ($1 = 13.2952 rand) (Reporting by Ed Stoddard, editing by Louise Heavens)