FNB named world's most innovative bank
1 November 2012
South Africa's First National Bank (FNB), a division of FirstRand Limited, was named
the world's most innovative bank of the year at the 2012 BAI-Finacle Global Banking
Announced in Washington, DC on 10 October, the BAI-Finacle Global Banking
Innovation Awards were chosen from more than 150 entries from over 30 countries
"for breakthrough innovations that positively impact banks and their customers", the
awards website states.
Now in their second year, the awards are run by BAI and Infosys, with winners
chosen by an independent panel comprising "prominent industry thought-leaders,
academics and retail banking professionals" from around the world.
The panel praised FNB's innovative culture, noting that the bank runs an internal
competition that formally encourages and supports innovation, empowering business
units within the bank to innovate through leadership buy-in and
"Effectively, every employee can be an innovator and can change the way we
conduct business," FNB CEO Michael Jordaan said in a statement. "This is an
inversion of the historical top-down application of corporate strategies.
"With the concept of innovation we have created a far-reaching ethos of creativity,
and we can see colleagues across Africa and India applying themselves to their jobs
with a heightened sense of insight and innovation."
The bank's eWallet, a mobile money transfer solution launched in 2009, was also
named as a finalist in the Product/Service Innovation category of the competition.
The eWallet service allows customers to send money to anyone in South Africa with
a valid mobile phone number. Funds can be transferred instantly, and the recipient
receives a text message indicating that funds have been sent to their mobile phone.
The recipient is then able to withdraw cash at FNB ATMs,
buy pre-paid airtime or
electricity, send money to another phone, purchase and/or get cash at selected
retailers, as well as make once-off payments.
In April, FNB announced that more than one-million eWallets had been created, and
over R1.6-billion paid into them, since the launch of the service.
In July 2011, FNB followed up on eWallet by launching the FNB Banking Application,
an "app" that gives users of smartphones and tablet computer devices easy access
to their accounts online.
Since then - and with most of FNB's competitors following FNB's lead in launching
their own apps - the bank has regularly added enhancements to widen the app
target audience and give customers more functionality.
The latest enhancements, announced this week, enable FNB customers with smart
phones or tablets to register and use the Banking App without the need of a pre-
existing online banking profile.
"This latest development
will enable us to extend the reach of the App to all FNB
customers with a smart device, and not just those registered for online banking,"
Farren Roper, head of FNB Connect ISP and Business Operations, said in a statement
"With South African smart device penetration consistently on the increase, and with
FNB doing its part to facilitate smartphone and tablet take up even faster, we are
accelerating the growth of our App base."