When banks go beyond the bank

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The FNB banking app may still have bank accounts at its core, but users logging in from this week will experience a sea change in what was once simply known as “banking.”

On Monday, the bank unveiled a range of lifestyle solutions “designed to help its customers beyond financial services”, taking it into the areas of education, private security and gaming.

The new offer includes:

  • Starbucks: Free coffee every week.
  • Udemy: affordable access to online courses.
  • GuardMe: medical service and armed intervention personnel.
  • eBucks games: games without advertising and without monthly subscription.
  • FNB Connect offers: high-end smartphones, laptops and iPads from Apple, Samsung and Lenovo at a lower price than retail stores.
  • Slow Lounge: FNB has announced the official acquisition of Slow Lounges at the airport.

FNB Connect deals are described as “hero deals,” representing high-end devices that tech brands tend to refer to as “hero” models. These offers include:

  • R89 per month for a Lenovo M10 tablet including headphones and case (total charges R2,136 vs. R3,999 spot price).
  • Apple iPad 9 10.2″ at R199 per month (total charge of R4,776 vs. R6,499 cash).
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 3 at R279 + backpack, mouse and Office 365 (total costs R6,696 vs. R9,999 spot price).

The acquisition of Slow Lounge Business has received regulatory approval, and FNB and RMB Private Bank customers will now continue to have access to the facilities that changed the flight experience in South Africa, at OR Tambo, Lanseria, King Shaka and Cape Town. International airports.

“This is a major shift in our efforts to be relevant to customers in all contexts,” said CEO Jacques Celliers. “The lifestyle solutions we are integrating into our ecosystem will set new standards for value-added services in the financial services industry.”

We asked Celliers what the motivation was for getting so aggressively into lifestyle options.

“We are privileged to have an enormous amount of business that we attract as a result of our banking relationship,” he said. “Our expanded insurance and investment value propositions are really gaining a lot of traction. We’ve found over time that the ability to expand those interactions is a very exciting program for us. We’ve built what we loosely call lifestyle offerings, such as additional reasons people choose our platform.

“In today’s world there is a lot of frustration with people having to go to different environments for this and that. For example, one thing we’ve drawn a lot of attention to over the years is the ability to get airtime, electricity or water, people’s daily needs in terms of their lifestyle, and just getting by. Over time we have expanded that and those expanded opportunities give us more traction and from those interactions we create more stiffness.

“If we can retain more customers and have more regular interactions, we can create more business. This is typical of platform business models.

“The second: it’s easier for you to start a new relationship with someone when you can help them with little things here and there. We give people license renewals and we do airtime top-ups, we can help you with a plane ticket or a trip…and then be more contextual with our financial services offering.

A key question is whether the expanded service offering is a response to banks like Nedbank and telecom operators like Vodacom launching “super apps”. But that was not Celliers’ vision.

“We don’t use the word super app. We think it’s kind of a marketing gimmick. In theory, a banking value proposition is a very great privilege to have with a customer, especially when it comes to that primary banking relationship. This privilege should not be taken for granted. So we sweat, creating value for customers. So we can give them solutions, make banking and your investments, your financial solutions, much more holistic, and we can catch you in any contextual moment you are in.

“Are you starting out in life or are you retiring or, buying the neighbor’s farm, expanding your business, starting your business? These are all contextual. So we look for inspiration in what the world offers to customers.

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