South African banks are permanenetly between a rock and a hard place in the context of SMEs.
On the one hand government expects them, as public companies to provide development capital, which is not their role, and on the othre hand, the government has created the expectation that banks will / should finance all SMEs.
Government on the other hand manages all it's development finance as though they were running a bank, using duplicate systems to the banks in deciding who to give loans to. To government does not do development capital properly, and banks do not do it but are expected to.
However, while South African banks are undoubtedly innovative in many ways, and world leaders in certain respects, they are decidedly lacking in innovation when assessing SME loan applications.
However, I do not believe they are any worse than other banks elsewhere in the world. However, they could possibly all learn a thing or two from banks like Grameen and ICICI perhaps.