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Banking innovation underpins affordability

Sarel van Zyl, Chief executive of First National Bank Namibia explains how innovation is a key driver of lower banking costs.

FNB Namibia is testing a form of Cash Deposit Taking ATM’s which are able to take in real-time cash deposits and then recycling that same cash for dispensing when a another customer wants to withdraw.

“ATM cash deposits will be cleared and made available on the customer’s account immediately and not only after 24 hours as before” said Sarel van Zyl, CEO of FNB Namibia, explaining his bank’s drive to stay on the cusp of new technology.
The advantages to customers are less time spent in queues to deposit cash as well as improved cash withdrawal facilities availability and up time. “These machines are currently being tested in the ATM Lobby of the FNB Windhoek branch and the plan is to introduce 30 more across the country during the next year” he said adding that this latest innovation is but one in a long line of innovations to offer customers more convenience, transact ability and the option of more cost effective banking.
Cash-based transactions remain expensive for the bank to offer and as such, FNB had no option but to increase fees on these transactions as part of its 2015/16 pricing review. “With this in mind and in keeping with our strategy of migrating customers to transact on electronic and digital self-service channels, FNB remains pro-active in encouraging customers to look for alternatives to cash-based banking, such as using their card to pay for goods and services where possible and to use channels such as FNB Online Banking, Cellphone Banking and the FNB Banking App. These alternatives offer more affordable banking with added convenience” said Van Zyl.
“We do, however, realize that customers still need to pay for certain things in cash, and to do so as affordably as possible we encourage customers to make use of FNB ATMs when withdrawing cash, as the use of another bank’s ATM for these transactions are charged at a premium.”
He said FNB’s increase of bank fees has been minimized on the lower and middle income customers, and the bank would continue to offer their Electronic Pricing Option (EPO) to those customers who transact using mostly electronic mediums and the “Pay-As-You-Use” pricing option to those Lifestyle account customers who prefer to pay per transaction as the pricing options allow customers to choose an option that best suits their transactional requirements.
In line with FNB’s support of the Bank of Namibia’s drive towards wider financial inclusion, the CardWise Zero Account will remain the cheapest transactional account, with zero monthly account fees. It is available to all individuals earning up to N$24,000 per year. CardWise Zero is designed for customers looking for a day-to-day bank account that is both easy to use and easy on the pocket. A free savings pocket, called Bank-Your-Change is also available and offers competitive interest rates dependent on the balance in the account.

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