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FNB has restored most of its branches that were destroyed during the July Riots

Bridge City Mall in KwaMashu which FNB has listed as among its restored branches after recent looting in KZN and Gauteng. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA).

Bridge City Mall in KwaMashu which FNB has listed as among its restored branches after recent looting in KZN and Gauteng. Picture: Theo Jeptha/African News Agency (ANA).

Published May 14, 2022

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FNB has restored most of its branches that were destroyed during the July Riots that killed over 300 people except for six branches that could not be restored because they were situated in condemned malls, says FNB’s CEO Points of Presence and CEO Real Estate Management Services Lee-Anne van Zyl.

She said that in Gauteng and KZN where South Africa experienced the devastation, all branches have been restored except for six. “These six branches could not be restored because they are actually situated in condemned malls. Structurally, these malls do not allow us to go in at that point and time-frames around that are really out of our control,” van Zyl said.

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She said that regarding the ATMs that were affected wherever they could go back to replace them they did so. “You can also imagine what happened when all banks were in the same position competing for devices that we still import today. So if we have not gone back to a particular area, it is about a couple of deciding factors. Those are: Do we want to go back to an area and does it justify us putting an ATM back there or do we have an alternative solution in that we have a cash at till capability. Secondly, looking at the volumes of that particular device, where was the need most appropriate to replace the devices and thirdly it was about the accessibility of parts and devices that we import to replace those devices.”

On Wednesday, FNB announced that it planned to continue modernising its branch network with a strong focus on digitisation, enhanced client service, and optimal cash solutions for clients. It said it was optimising space and design, and future branches will average 350m2 in size rather than the current 460m2. It is also regularly reviewing its branch footprint and location, as well as the services required in the communities where it operates. FNB built 9 new branches in local markets or communities and refurbished 53 branches in the current financial year with another 3 new branches which were in the process of being built as well as another 34 refurbishments in progress. FNB planned to build an additional 27 new community branches as well as refurbish approximately 90 branches in the 2023 financial year.

FNB said that it was once again raising the bar as an integrated financial services provider with platform-based assisted and unassisted services by transitioning its Private Bankers into Private Advisors while also accelerating the modernisation of its branches to cater for digital and face-to-face client interactions.

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The transition of Private Bankers to Private Advisors allowed clients to get more out of their relationship with FNB. Private Advisors would be equipped and accredited to provide integrated advice to help clients unlock cashflow in transact and lend activities, thus enabling them to save and invest more and protect their assets and loved ones. Furthermore, to improve the quality of engagements across client segments, FNB said it would significantly increase the number of Private Advisors.

FNB Money Management chief executive Senzo Nsibande said that the first thing they wanted to do internally across their department was to set principles that all departments could conform to. “If you think about the topic of money management, there are nine principles that we are trying to adhere to which they thought was a decent blueprint to get customers to financial wellness. Whether we start off with the idea of spending less than you earn which is a lifestyle issue because while we can give you all solutions in the world, if your lifestyle is different, you will always go back to a credit cycle or will never get where you want to be,” Nsibande said.

He said that firstly they wanted to set out a good set of principles that would allow a customer to unlock this value and they held everyone to account. By speaking the same principles whether regarding advisory, money management and others financial products.

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He said that they tried to measure customers holistically by looking at how they were doing against this which was consistent across the board. “We also keep ourselves honest by looking that while we may have sold one product to add to the basket, has it improved customers' wellness or financial journey?”

The bank’s unit said it was also working closely with front-line sales staff to make sure that money management formed part of their score-cards so that they did not expect natural sales without entrenching this conversation on how to go about it.

Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Wealth and RMB Private Bank said that it started with the internal culture in the organisation which was influenced by the strategy, tools and measurement. “Measurement is important in all businesses because if you outright measure your people on a product activity you will get certain results, In financial services there is a massive accountability responsibility around advice,” Enslin said.

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