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Press Office

FNB uses helpful innovation to address customer needs


16 May 2018: FNB continues to be a leader in banking innovation through the launch of customer- centric digital solutions to address the ever-changing needs of consumers.


 

FNB solves for SME needs through digital innovation


16 May 2018: FNB today announced that SMEs can now completely switch or open a new bank account in less than five minutes through selfie authentication and digital KYC on the FNB App.


 

Please direct all media queries to fnbmedia@fnb.co.za




 

How to achieve a comfortable retirement


02 May 2018: Retirement planning is often not prioritised during our first few years of employment. However, what we fail to realise is that starting your retirement plans early will yield positive results over the long term.


 

Consider your digital life when doing financial planning for your death


25 April 2018: While the vast majority of people are aware of the importance of making sure that their physical assets and personal wealth are passed on to those left behind when they pass away, it's becoming increasingly important to ensure that the growing number of digital assets are also specifically included in our estate planning.


 

Four mistakes graduates should avoid when taking out a loan


23 April 2018: Many graduates who have a good credit profile often get carried away by the excitement of qualifying for a loan, while overlooking the risks of misusing it, which could potentially lead to financial mishaps.


 

Insure your household employees against a funeral


17 April 2018: Many people who employ household employees often do not take out funeral cover for their employees as they perceive it to be a costly and complicated administrative burden.


 

You use the information contained on this page (the "Information") at your own risk. First National Bank, a division of FirstRand Bank Limited ("the Bank"), provides no warranties or guarantees, whether express, implied or otherwise, in respect of the Information, its accuracy and/or reliability. Without limitation, the Bank does not warrant that the Information will ensure your compliance with accounting, auditory, financial, legal, business and/or tax requirements or will improve your business' performance. The Information does not constitute advice and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining professional or other advice where necessary. Neither the Bank nor its holding company, subsidiaries or other group companies will be liable to you for any claims, demands, expenses, costs, losses or damages, of whatsoever nature, suffered or incurred by you in respect of your use of the Information.

The Bank is the owner of the copyright in all content on this page. You may not publish, modify or adapt this content in any medium or format without the prior written consent of the Bank.

Contact Us


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Embracing the evolution of supply chains


06 July 2017 - Supply chain has become one of the key strategic hubs of many companies' activities; business is now conducted in a world where players as far away as Turkey and China are able to compete with a South African company successfully in terms of price when moving goods from point to point. This indicates that Freight forwarding and logistics works on a new set of rules in the 21st century, breaking with tradition may just be the only way to remain a player in a sector that has no borders.

Zak Sivalingum, FNB Regional Head in Gauteng East shares six areas that should be addressed in order for SA's Freight Forwarding and Logistics industry to remain competitive. These 6 areas were recently discussed with stakeholders from the Logistics Industry where the focus was around some of the challenges as well as opportunities that currently exist in the Industry.

Adopting technology and a millennial mindset - Technology has made it easier and more cost effective to use specific tools to move freight. Making use of optimisation engines, routing and scheduling tools can ensure that cargo is distributed timely and with optimal capacity, helping to decrease the overall cost of moving goods between two points.

South Africa's infrastructure impeding competitiveness - There is a general lack of infrastructure which puts SA companies in the top end of pricing. Government initiatives such as the Durban Dig Out Port and Tambo Springs in Ekurhuleni are a step in the right direction; however, the predominant form of delivery mainly makes use of roads infrastructure as opposed to rail which is far more expensive.

Alignment between government and business - Better alignment between business and government could improve the speed and process of transfer of cargo. Where you may find that customs makes use of cutting edge systems to ensure rapid clearance, other related stakeholders are either not using the same system or have no access to the existing system. This increases the time required to move cargo, it also increases opportunity for fraud and in the end, hits the respective business and consumers the hardest.

Cost of physical logistics is too high - The size of Southern Africa means that the distances that cargo moves takes too long from point of departure to its final destination. One of the major cost drivers is that Southern Africa uses road as opposed to rail. Over time the cost of fuel, toll gates, wear-and-tear of vehicle all summates to an expensive total cost of overall operations. If we are to compete globally, we may need to use countries such as the USA as case studies where freight also travels over land for a significant distance yet their costs are lower.

Industry collaboration needs to be considered more - As cargo vessels increase in size all the time, naturally it will become cheaper to move cargo from point to point due to shared costs for a single trip. A truck, in sharp contrast only carries one, maybe two containers, making this a lot more expensive. Both importers and exporters need to consider more consolidations.

Skills Development - If you consider that by 2050 Africa will have almost half of the world's population, then you see that the future of growth in this industry lies in being able to execute both cost and speed of delivery effectively to the rest of Africa, and doing so using new thinking that incorporates the use of technology.

"This is the challenge for an industry steeped in a traditional way of doing business. It is important now and will remain so in the future to embrace the concept of "data mastering", which will ultimately determine the winners, moving away from a "cost-oriented" approach to a value-oriented one" concludes Sivalingum.

Make saving part of your lifestyle


3 July 2017 - The volatility of the South African economy, coupled with the recent downgrades has put consumers under immense financial pressure. A need exists for consumers to re-evaluate their lifestyles and make savings part of their daily routine.

"Challenging consumers to spend less now and save for later has become an important objective under the savings month theme," explains Ester Ochse, Product Specialist at FNB Financial Advisory.

"Saving should not only be seen as a once off exercise but should rather become part of a lifestyle change. This simple principle should be ingrained in us from a very young age to ensure that we embrace a savings culture that can benefit us in the future,"" she adds.

"Setting a small amount aside each month can help you reduce stress and at the same time shape your long-term future or help you cover those unforeseen expenses that may crop up. Worrying about monthly expenses can lead to stress and a variety of other health problems like depression, anxiety to mention a few. Finding simple, new and innovative ways to save money can help you lead a longer, happier life," says Ochse.

Simple ways to eliminate unnecessary stress and help you SAVE more:

  • Buy what you need - Determine what you need and what you don't need. Sometimes we become 'impulse buyers' and tend to waste our money on unnecessary clothes, cosmetics, toiletries etc. We often buy them just for the sake of buying or because it's trendy. Ask yourself the question: Do I need it and will I use it?
  • Home cooking - Cooking at home is not only healthier but also more cost effective, than buying take-outs daily. You will be surprised with how much you can save by just cooking a healthy meal for your family. Plus an added bonus is that you can take it for lunch the next day.
  • Save your spare change in a FNB Savings Account - Instead of putting your loose coins or notes under the bed or couch, open an FNB Savings account which will give you the options of transacting and traditional savings benefits that will help you achieve your savings goal.
  • Have coffee at home or at the office - we all love going to coffee shops, but the cost adds up considerably overtime. Rather have your cuppa at home or the office. Not only does it save you time but also money.
  • Become your own Do It Yourself (DIY) expert - Look at DIY blogs, apps or even Pinterest to find easy DIY solutions for yourself and your common household problems. If the problem is big, call in an expert if not then just DIY.
  • Pay off debt ASAP - Debt can lead to high interest rates and if poorly managed, it can result in health problems over time. Money used in interest is money given away, so be responsible and take out only 'good debt' and ensure that you pay it off as soon as possible.
  • Become a minimalist - Create a clutter-free lifestyle, live simply and be content with what you have.

"Creating reasonable goals and setting milestones could help you achieve your savings goals faster. It requires time, effort, patience and dedication but at the end of the day it will be worth it," concludes Ochse.

The importance of balancing risk, growth and access is a priority


05 July 2017 - South Africa's low growth economy presents small and medium enterprises with a number of challenges, not least of which is how to balance the need to grow and preserve cash reserves for future use in business. Managing investment risk while retaining access to the funds when they are needed, are also important considerations.

Ancley Jacobs, CEO FNB Cash Investments, points out that most SMEs have three main considerations to keep in mind when approaching the management and saving of their cash reserves.

"The primary consideration for any small or medium business is managing investment risk by ensuring that cash on hand is invested where it is safe and the capital is fully guaranteed," Jacobs explains.

Secondly, Jacobs acknowledges that liquidity is a priority for most SMEs. He suggests that it should not come at the expense of growth meaning cash should be "parked" in an interest bearing savings or cash investment account that offers growth to curb the effects of inflation, while still giving instant or quick access to savings.

"Apart from the need to have cash on hand in savings and cash investments with instant or quick access to money, SMEs also need to be able to access cash invested over the medium and longer term for regular planned future expenses like tax payments and staff costs such as bonuses, as well as large future expenses such as assets or growth projects", says Jacobs.

"Typically, when it comes to cash savings, the solutions offered by banks are built around a balance between ease of access and term of savings," Jacobs explains, "so a business that is prepared to agree to long lead times when it comes to accessing its cash will typically enjoy a higher growth rate."

This term-based approach can be well suited as a way of growing cash available to the business that have a clear view of their timeline for future cash needs, which is why, for the SME that is unsure about exactly when it will need to access cash. Jacobs recommends finding a solution that offers quick access at no cost.

He uses the recently launched FNB 48 Hour Cash Accelerator savings solutions as an example of a business savings solution designed specifically to balance the needs of having quick access to savings while enjoying healthy growth. "The solution was developed with the specific cashflow and growth needs of businesses in mind and, as such, it combines a very competitive interest rate with an appealing 48-hour notice period to access cash invested, coupled with the assurance that the capital and quoted returns are fully guaranteed."

"Given that a significant reason for putting your cash into a savings account is to help grow the money during the times that you don't need it, earning returns that keep up with inflation is important," he states that, "apart from the benefit of being able to access your cash quickly, it will also actually be worth more than when it was deposited."

"Owners of these businesses therefore need to make absolutely sure that they fully understand their short, medium and long-term cash requirements to ensure that they have an optimised solution that offer a balance between the risk, growth and access that their business, can be comfortable with," Jacobs concludes.

Signs you are misusing your credit card


04 June 2017 - If you constantly find yourself impulsively spending on your credit card, yet dreading to check how much you owe on your statement at the end of the month, there is a high likelihood you are misusing your credit card.

Jonathan de Beer, head of collections at FNB Credit Card, says a credit card can be quite convenient and rewarding if you need safe and instant access to cash. However, you can easily find yourself in an unnecessary financial predicament if you are not careful with your spending.

He points out five tell-tale signs you could be misusing your credit card:

  • Feeling guilty after spending - guilt could indicate that you are either buying what you do not really need, buying without checking your budget or you know you shouldn't be making the purchase but you are still going ahead because you can.
  • Can't pay extra on your credit card debt - if you can't even afford to make an additional payment on the required minimum monthly amount, you could be heading for trouble and need to carefully monitor your spending.
  • Getting a shock when checking your statement - a good debt management strategy involves knowing your current financial position and putting measures in place to manage it. This involves keeping up to date with your spending on a regular basis.
  • Shuffling debt between different credit cards - having multiple credit cards and using them to settle your debt could leave you in serious financial difficulties. This should be avoided at all cost.
  • Not saving because of debt - being overstretched financially to such an extent that you are living off your credit card and cannot afford to save leads to money problems, especially when dealing with unforeseen emergencies.

"If you notice any of these signs or find yourself excessively spending beyond your means, it is not the end of the road, as there are important measures you can immediately take to gradually turn your situation around," advises de Beer.

The first step is to list all your debt, spend carefully and only when it is absolutely necessary, formulate a realistic budget and stick to it. Lastly, try and pay a little extra towards your credit card debt every month.

"In extreme debt situations consumers are advised to seek expert advice as soon as possible in order to minimise the impact," concludes de Beer.

10 tips to save on banking charges


06 June 2017 - If you can't quite put your finger on bank charges when checking your statement every month, it is possible that you either don't have the best banking account that suits your transacting needs or may have adopted behaviour that is costing you a bit more.

Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB Value Banking Solutions, says in principle, choosing an ideal banking account for your needs, keeping abreast of fees and knowing what value you are getting from your bank should help you avoid unnecessary bank charges.

He shares ten tips on how to save on banking charges:

  • Choosing the right account - never choose a bank account merely on its monthly administration costs, rather base the decision on your transacting needs to avoid incurring additional charges. For example, on a pay as you use structured account you may be charged extra everytime you make a transaction, while on a bundle offering you are able to perform multiple or unlimited transactions without incurring additional charges.

    A pay as you use structure would be best suited for a customer with a low number of monthly transactions, while bundle offerings are best suited for those with a higher number of monthly transactions. Make sure that you chose a bundle with the most appropriate number of transactions included in the bundle, based on your monthly transactional needs.

  • Avoid using another bank's ATM - avoid withdrawing money at an ATM belonging to another bank as the costs are higher than using your bank's one.

  • Bank on digital channels - whenever possible try and use digital and electronic channels for transactions as these are usually free or attract lower costs compared to using a bank branch. In addition, digital channels offer you the convenience of performing your banking anywhere anytime; thereby saving you time and money by avoiding travelling to a branch.

  • Swiping your card - instead of withdrawing cash to purchase necessities rather swipe your card as it is safer than carrying cash. Check whether your bank offers unlimited card swipes at no additional charge regardless of the amount. In addition, most banks' loyalty programs give customers rewards back for swiping their card.

    "FNB transactional accounts offer a free eBucks reward linkage, enabling you to get something extra back at no additional cost. If you really do need cash, why not add it to your grocery list and withdraw from selected retailer till points. This transaction is usually cheaper than withdrawing from an ATM. FNB offers Cash@till via Shoprite, Checkers, U-Save, Pick 'n Pay, Boxer, PEP and selected Spar stores," says Prozesky.

  • Avoid penalty charges - always make sure there is sufficient money in your account to cover all purchases and transactions you make. This will help you from incurring penalty charges when transactions fail.

  • Overdraft facility fees - An overdraft facility helps meet those unexpected cashflow shortfalls and will help you avoid penalty fees due to insufficient funds. Although FNB only charges customers for having an overdraft facility when they use it, other banks may charge you a monthly fee for merely having the facility, even if you don't use it.

  • Bank Statements - if you have an email address, request your bank to rather email your statement to you instead of posting them. Not only will they arrive much sooner, but you will avoid any charges for postal statements that some banks may levy. If you need to check your transaction history, make use of your bank's digital channels to view your balance, transaction history or download your recent statements for free.

    "FNB now allows customers to download or email themselves their previous three month's bank statements for free from the FNB App, Cellphone Banking and Online Banking. If you need a physical copy of your bank statements avoid high fees by requesting these in branch; rather see if your bank offers the ability to print statements at selected ATM machines. FNB offers you the ability to print your last three month's statements at over 900 ATMs with Deposit machines around the country," says Prozesky.

  • Take care of bank cards - be extra cautious with your bank cards as some banks will usually charge you a fee for replacing them.

  • Monthly caps - exceeding monthly caps for certain transactions may attract additional fees. For example, on certain account bundles, your bank may offer you a number or value of ATM withdrawals for free, with additional charges as soon as you exceed the limit.

Lastly, don't ignore communication from your bank. "Banks often review their account fees annually offering you a breakdown of changes and adjustments. It's important to thoroughly go through and understand these fee changes and how they impact the way you transact on a monthly basis," concludes Prozesky.

Consumers in the dark about disability insurance


26 June 2017 - Consumers who have little or no disability cover in place could face financial difficulties in the unfortunate event of disabilities that often result from accidents or illnesses such as diabetes, heart attacks, depression, mental health, stroke, cancer and back pain, amongst others.

Approximately 30% of FNB Life customers have some form of disability cover. However, only about 3.5% have cover that would be sufficient to cater for their financial needs if they were disabled.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life, says most people who take out life cover mistakenly view disability insurance as an additional and unnecessary grudge purchase, until something tragic happens to them.

Moreover, if you have a particular disorder that runs through your family and could potentially lead to some form of disability; it is all the more reason why you need this type of cover.

"Although life insurance ensures that your loved ones are taken care of financially in the event that you pass away, you also need to consider what will happen if you become disabled and have no income to take care of yourself and those who are financially dependent on you," explains Bromfield.

Bromfield says the reason why consumers get it so wrong when it comes to disability cover is not being informed enough to realise the significant impact.

For example, if you suddenly have a stroke, are permanently disabled and can no longer work or take care of yourself, you may find yourself financially stranded. Even if you do have cover through your employer it may not be enough.

Alternatively, if you were to experience back problems and couldn't work for a period of six months or more you may need income to cater for the financial shortfall.

He says a common misconception held by consumers is that disabilities are usually work related and would normally be covered through the Workers Compensation Fund set up by the government. The danger with this notion is that many disabilities can occur outside of work leaving you and your family uninsured.

"When considering the future wellbeing of your loved ones, it is important to strike the correct balance between life and disability cover, and the amount of cover needed depending on your individual needs.

Taking out disability cover should not be seen as a tick box exercise," concludes Bromfield.

FNB Life offers death, disability and critical illness cover, up to R100 million, R50 million and R5 million respectively.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or 087 335 8277

IFC Initiates Push to Support South African SMEs


Johannesburg, 30 June, 2017 - Today, First National Bank (FNB), firmly committed to playing a bigger role in tackling South Africa's unemployment crisis. A loan agreement in the amount of $200 million (around R2.6 billion) was concluded between FNB parent, FirstRand, and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) a member of the World Bank Group. The loan is aimed at magnifying lending and support for the SME sector in South Africa, where FNB is a leading player.

In an effort to promote growth of the SME sector, the IFC has developed the SME Push Program to channel $2-3 billion (around R26-39 billion) of a wide range of investment into South Africa's SMEs over the next 5-7 years.

"SMEs are one of the most powerful contributors to sustainable economic growth. In South Africa, the sector contributes about 40% to the country's GDP," says Mike Vacy-Lyle, CEO of FNB Business.

The National Development Plan 2030 estimates that South Africa needs to have 8 million active SME's in order to achieve set targets of creating 11 million jobs by 2030. The SME Push Program is designed to align with government policies in order to assist in gearing South Africa towards these set goals.

Oumar Seydi, IFC Director for East and Southern Africa said, "IFC's is committed to promoting the growth of SMEs to spur job creation at a time of economic uncertainty in South Africa, and globally. IFC welcomes this opportunity to help FNB expand its efforts to work with SMEs, and build on a long-term strategic partnership that can increase access to finance IFC's SME Push Program."

"FNB is well positioned to offer the right support to the SME sector. Regardless of the current economic slowdown, we believe that SMEs still represent a massive growth opportunity. Together with the IFC we can collaborate in crafting an era of economic and social development and help shape the county's growth prospects," concludes Vacy-Lyle.

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. Working with 2,000 businesses worldwide, we use our six decades of experience to create opportunity where it's needed most. In FY16, our long-term investments in developing countries rose to nearly $19 billion, leveraging our capital, expertise and influence to help the private sector end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.

For more information, visit .www.ifc.org

SA's first banking app now free across all networks


29 June 2017 - FNB today announced that customers who use its award winning banking app will no longer need data to access it via their smartphones from 1 July 2017.

This follows an agreement with all major mobile network operators in South Africa to zero rate access to the FNB Banking App allowing all customers to use it at no cost. The bank already offers free access to its app to all FNB Connect customers, and offers free WiFi in most FNB branches for customers to download the app.

Giuseppe Virgillito, FNB Digital spokesperson, says "Since launching the app six years ago, not only has it become the most downloaded, but also the popular banking app amongst consumers as recently rated in the SAcsi and Columinate SITEisfaction Index's 2017."

"We believe that access to data or airtime should not be a barrier to safe and convenient banking for South Africans. The zero rating of the app is in line with our broader strategy to migrate customers to digital and electronic channels where a number of transactions and services are already offered free of charge," adds Virgillito.

The FNB Banking App not only offers customers convenience, but increased value through its industry leading features that caters for the basic and advanced banking transactions in the hands of customers.

"We attribute the success of the banking app to continuous innovation and meeting more than the basic banking needs of our customers," adds Virgillito.

Furthermore, with fraud being a global concern for customers that use digital platforms, the latest version of the FNB Banking App boasts industry-leading security features.

The industry first inContact solution has evolved to introduce Smart InContact, which allows customers to receive secure Online Banking transaction approvals on the FNB App which does not rely on SMS or email technology which could be intercepted by fraudsters. Smart inContact on the FNB App also notifies customers of all transactions for free, from as low as one cent, with full control to report fraud with 1-touch of the Report Fraud button to the 24/7 FNB Fraud line. The app also works with Online Banking to verify devices that customers use to transact on their respective profiles. Only verified devices with the app installed receive Smart inContact transaction approvals.

Logins to Online Banking also trigger a Smart inContact notification for customers to be notified whenever their Online Banking is accessed. App users can also now authenticate themselves through Fingerprint ID available to both Android and iPhone owners, which uses a fingerprint sensor to verify the user before giving access to the account profile.

The FNB Banking App is currently ranked the best in South Africa by customers in both the South African Consumer Satisfaction Index 2017, and in the Columinate SITEisfaction Index 2017. The app has also been ranked best in South Africa by international benchmark studies, such as MyPrivateBanking Research and Finalta where international banking experts rank the FNB Banking App as standing shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world.

"Apart from gaining multiple international awards over the years, we still strive to please our customers, and the results are evident in both the SAcsi and SITEisfactions surveys, where when unpacking the detail, consumers rate the FNB Banking App as the best banking app in the country," says Virgillito.

The FNB Banking App features industry-leading solutions such as FNB Pay, Fingerprint ID, Secure Chat, Smart inContact, 1-touch Report Fraud, nav» Car and nav» Home, eBucks Partner locator and FNB TV, amongst others.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or 087 335 8277

4 reasons why WC is important to the SA economy


28 June 2017 - The Western Cape (WC) is a province that houses an important part of the agri-economy in South Africa. It has seen the worst of the drought on record, dam levels remain low and the province has gone as far as implementing restrictions on water usage throughout the region.

Dawie Maree, Head of Information and Marketing at FNB Agri Business takes us through four reasons why the Western Cape Agricultural sector is important to the South African economy.

1. Why do we need it to rain in the WC? - The WC is probably SA's most important export province in terms of agricultural products. The deciduous fruit industry, wine industry and increasingly the citrus industry is also setting base in the WC, these are all key export produce that contribute significantly to the overall agri-economy in South Africa. Should any of these industries suffer, it becomes detrimental to the agricultural industry as a whole in South Africa and by extension, the local economy.

2. What is the percentage impact on GDP contribution? - The WC contributes 24% to total GDP in South Africa. Agriculture has a total contribution to the GDP of the WC of roughly 4%. But what is significant to note is that agric and agro-processing is responsible for 18% of employment opportunities in the province.

3. How has the drought impacted employment numbers in the sector? - The drought will have the biggest impact on seasonal employment in the fruit industry. Due to possible lower production, less seasonal workers might be employed, with the obvious socio-economic consequences related to a decreased number of those employed. For Q1 there were 215 000 employees in the agric sector in the WC. That is 14.2% less than in Q4 of 2016. A large percentage of these are due to seasonality - It is however 5.9% less than the same period in 2016 (228 000) - clearly a consequence of the drought. The WC has the biggest agricultural workforce in South Africa at 24.5%.

4. What is the long term impact of the drought on both WC and the country? The WC is a central agricultural exports province and the drought, if not broken soon, will definitely impact negatively on the long term economic growth for both the province and the country's economy.

The WC has recently had some rains; however, the drought has not been broken. A major contributing factor of the drought has had a negative impact on the wheat industry, seriously hampering supply, with the knock-on effect on wheat prices and possibly the bread price. Although SA is a net importer of wheat, this might mean that we will have to import even more wheat than we normally do. Some of the losses in wheat production might be offset by increasing production in the Free State and Northern Cape.

"We must keep in mind that although agric only makes up around 4% of the sector when compared to other industries, the majority of agric's production, in access of 70%, gets used by the manufacturing industry and the Western Cape is an key contributor to this. Should agric suffer; the whole value-chain will suffer" concludes Maree.

What documents do you need to open a bank account?


Johannesburg; 27 June 2017 - Opening a bank account is a hassle free process, but before a bank can initiate the account opening process, there are some important documents that are required.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence, says "While the account opening process is simple, most people are still not sure which documents are required. With the change of laws in South Africa, a South African identity document is no longer enough as the bank has to comply with laws such as the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA), which require banks to have the correct and up to date information for new and existing customers."

Here is a list of documents required before opening a bank account in South Africa:

  • Proof of Identity: This must be a valid bar coded green ID book or a Smart ID card that belongs to the prospective account opener.
  • Proof of address: A document which reflects a permanent residential address such as a municipal utility bill or clothing account statement that is not older than 3 months from the date of issue.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: This is the minimum amount required to activate the account, it may vary on the type of account you are opening.

Foreign Nationals

Foreign Nationals who reside in South Africa can open bank accounts, but before the account opening process commences there's declaration they must sign. This is a list of the required documents:

  • Passport: a valid passport clearly stating the full names and country of origin of the applicant.
  • Proof of address: an official document such a utility bill which reflects the applicant's residential address, which is not dated older than 3 months.
  • Study permit/Work permit: This would apply to either foreign nationals who work or study in South Africa, the bank requires a valid study permit or a work permit issued by the Department of Home Affairs. It's important to note there are other permits that the bank accepts, these include: business permit, residence permit, retired persons permit, exchange permit, relative permit, medical treatment permit and visitors permit.
  • Minimum Opening Deposit: This is the minimum amount required to activate the account.

"Opening an account is relatively easy, but if there any outstanding documents it can add unnecessary delays. At FNB, you can open an Easy Account for as little as R5.25 on the pay as you use option or R53 for a bundle which offers a number of benefits" says van Zyl.

For more information contact:

Dumezulu Shiburi- FNB Corporate Communications
Tel: 087 328 0990 or Email: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za

SMEs must diversify


09 May 2017: The SA economy is proving resilient in the wake of the recent downgrades, the rand is slowly recovering and business seems to be weathering the storm, however, this should not stop businesses from diversifying both their business and investment portfolios.

"Adopting the ostrich mentality will not work for SMEs in a shrinking economy. The idiom "make hay whilst the sun shines" is the most relevant in this current economy. The reality is there is less money in the economy and debt is becoming more expensive to hold so most customers are decreasing their spend and credit exposure. If SMEs want to win they need to be far more diversified" says Mags Ponnan, Head of Customer Value Propositions at FNB Business.

Diversifying your business simply defined means growing a company's service/ product offering range to providing more variation or options to the market. Through this process a company gains new customers, increasing its market base and also drives expansion success. A bigger customer base means an increased pool of business income, which in trying times is a saving grace because the business in effect has more than one stream of income.

Ponnan takes us through a few ways in which businesses can diversify:

Increase channels to reach consumer − A good approach would be to open an online store where you can sell directly to consumers. This means that you have a direct channel to the consumer that costs less and provide the business with a new set of customers who are increasingly turning towards digital platforms for ordering products and services in SA.

Increase geographical reach − The SME can look into signing deals with retailers that are available in other provinces, cities and even countries outside of where the business is geographically based. Increasing the geographical reach increases the number of customers that can be reached.

Develop new product/ service − Another effective way to diversify is to create new products, by increasing the product range, creating versions of the product that differ from an entry level version to a high end version of the product. Creating variations increases the number of customers that your product can reach because price variation means a lot additional people can afford the product.

Invest into an aligned business − One of the more aggressive ways of diversifying is a business buying into or buying out a related business either in the same market or related markets. For example a vertical integration will enable the business to control his product lifecycle where he will now be able to impact the raw materials being used or even the distribution channels used by his customers.

Save for a rainy day with Investing a portion of your profits on a monthly basis will allow you to build a nest egg that you can fall back on in the future in case of an unforeseen expenses or when you need funding for expansion of your business' geographical footprint or for the build of a new product.

"In tough times, only those willing to go beyond the norm are bound to win, SMEs need to think about their business far more creatively, the approach should be to spread your reach and not have all your eggs in one basket" concludes Ponnan.

Lessons learnt from the recent droughts. A focus on the Agricultural sector.


04 May 2017: Dawie Maree, Head of Information and Marketing for Agriculture at FNB Business

Apart from the Western Cape, the gripping drought that hung over the country has finally weathered away, the agricultural sector has more than recovered to a projected record harvest.

Good rainfall over most of the summer grain producing areas, a lot of rested lands, improved cultivars and the use of technology resulted in record crops for both maize and soya beans. The maize crop increased from roughly 7.7 million tonnes to a projected 14.3 million tonnes.

The intensive livestock sector, such as feedlots, dairies and broiler producers, has also benefited from the rains as there will be an improvement in the feed margins. However, the extensive livestock sector, farmers producing from grazing, is still not out of the woods yet. A lack of good rainfall and very low dam levels in the Western Cape are concerning, however, we remain hopeful as we head into winter, that the usual winter rains begin to fall across the province.

So what are the lessons we have learnt from this drought: Lesson 1 - First, it is important not to lose focus of your long term strategy. In farming, droughts will come and go, but how you plan to overcome a drought is an important part of the business. Do your production budget, feedflow plan and all other budgeting with both an optimistic view but always factor in a worst case scenario. If your farm can overcome the worst case scenario, then you will be fine.

Lesson 2 - Try to keep to your cash flow budget as far as possible and for as long as possible. This might mean that you have to sell off non-productive assets, but rather this than the risk of losing productive assets.

Lesson 3 - An important lesson is to diversify and with the current improved conditions, now might be the time to do so. In general, production conditions for the agricultural sector have improved substantially and this is clear in the latest consumer price inflation data release.

Food inflation in March fell to its lowest level in 14 months and the expectation is that it will decline even further given the improved agricultural conditions. Meat inflation is however still lagging the decline. Farmers are in the process of rebuilding their herds and hence slaughtering supply has declined. The declining food inflation bodes well for overall inflation and we saw a surprise decline in CPI to 6.1% in March, down from 6.3% in February.

Some growing concerns - The recent downgrades in which both consumer and business confidence in South Africa took a knock cannot go without mention. The exchange rate fortunately stabilised and recovered some lost territory but one might wonder where it will go over the next few months.

The volatile Rand, combined with an uptick in crude oil prices means we may be in for another fuel price increase in May, and this will further burden the recovering sector.

The agricultural sector has seen the worst in the past year, it has however began to find an upward swing again, the rains have returned, dams have filled up to near capacity, we have gone from a very low maize crop to a record high crop, and yes, the economy may be on a downturn, but just as the drought came and went, so will the tough times too.

The overall takeout is plan for the worst, implement the basics, ensure your finances are in order and talk to your banker in advance. If you get that right then there is no reason why you won't be singing in the rain.

FNB now offers life cover instantly on digital platforms


10 April 2017: FNB Life has taken the next step in its digital evolution by giving customers the option to take up and manage life insurance through the FNB Banking App and Online Banking.

By logging into their profiles, choosing the insurance option, answering medical questions and accepting the quote, customers are able to take up cover within a few minutes.

Some customers may be selected to go for a free medical assessment before the policy starts.

"It has never been easier and more convenient for consumers to take up life insurance," says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life. "Our new digital offering is a game changer for the life insurance industry in South Africa."

"With innovation being part of our DNA, it will come as no surprise to customers that we have reached yet another milestone by completely integrating life insurance into our banking systems," adds Bromfield.

"Our omni-channel strategy not only enables us to improve service levels, but to continue meeting the unique and ever changing needs of our customers by making it possible for them to access life insurance through our call-centres, financial advisors, branch networks, FNB Banking App and Online Banking."

The integration of life insurance with the bank's digital platforms will afford customers the benefit of a single login to simultaneously manage all their financial services and accounts.

Furthermore, the life cover offering has been integrated into the bank's rewards programme giving customers more value by earning up to 15% of their monthly premiums back through eBucks.

Customers can now take up life, disability and critical illness cover for up to R10 million each and R5 million respectively on digital platforms.

Life policy holders will also be able review and update their cover digitally without the intervention of service consultants.

For more information customers can contact FNB Life Centre on 087 736 7774 or email fnblife@fnb.co.za

For media queries contact: FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or 087 335 8277

FNB extends free WI-FI access at its branches


10 April 2017: The number of Johannesburg FNB branches with active free WI-FI connection has reached 383 as at February 2017, this is as the bank continues to offer free internet connectivity to customers in its branches.

Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence says, "By January 2017 over 200 000 customers connected to the internet via free FNB WI-FI in branches. The roll out of free WI-FI is another value-add which shows our commitment to helping all FNB customers bank digitally.

The fundamental aim of this initiative is to offer cheaper banking alternatives for customers through the availability free high speed Wi-Fi. Currently, about 187 FNB branches are connected via internet fbre, which enables connectivity at faster speeds."

"The process of providing free WI-FI is ongoing; however, we aim to steadily increase connectivity across most of branch outlets, especially high capacity branches."

Over the years FNB has moved to digitise its branches and avail the option of transacting via digital channels or over the counter. This happened in the form of introducing Digital Zones, which enable customers to transact via their online profiles within the branch.

FNB also has dedicated eBankers across 195 select branches that are deployed to assist customers at Digital Zones. The role of eBankers is to assist customers who transact digitally by giving support where necessary.

"We have seen a marked increase in the use of Digital Zones at branches as customers have the option to use online banking, the FNB Banking App or cell phone banking. There's clearly an appetite for digital banking, but as more customers adopt digital channels we will have to balance this with customers' education," adds van Zyl.

For more information contact:
Dumezulu Shiburi− FNB Corporate Communications
Tel: 087 328 0990 or Email: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za

Avoid online travel scams ahead of Easter


3 April 2017: Consumers who are travelling or have not yet finalised their arrangements for the upcoming Easter holidays should be wary of fraudsters who target people who are desperate to secure travel and accommodation at the last minute.

Sahil Mungar, FNB Digital Banking says, "If you have or haven't yet booked your travel and accommodation, not only are you likely to pay a premium, but you could also fall victim to some online scams."

"Fraudsters exploit potential holiday makers by falsely advertising holiday accommodation or timeshares on the internet and social media. Consumers are then deceived to pay upfront in order to secure their bookings. This further gives scammers an opportunity to request ID copies and bank details of their victims, which are then used for identity theft," adds Mungar.

When consumers become desperate to secure holiday travel and accommodation, they can easily overlook scams due to the pressure, only to find out that they've been defrauded when they get to the venue.

Mungar advises consumers to be extra cautious when booking accommodation online ahead of the Easter holidays

  • Always try and book accommodation three months in advance or longer to avoid disappointments. This will help you to qualify for discounts and gives you enough time to do the necessary background and security checks.
  • Use search engines like Google. If you're worried about a property or suspect that the photographs are fake, simply look it up yourself online. Look for reviews from other travelers and Google Maps to ensure that the place exists.
  • Use websites like tripadvisor.com, booking.com and similar websites to check reviews and to book accommodation securely. Generally these websites guarantee the booking.
  • Call directly to publically advertised phone numbers to confirm the booking availability. Even if you get called, rather hang up and call back on the official number.
  • Avoid depositing or transferring money to an individual's bank account or sending your personal details to their private email address. Rather pay online on the accommodation's actual website or in person at the venue.
  • Lookout for suspicious behavior. Take notice of bad grammar in emails, foreign phone numbers, or if the owner or property manager is not responding to emails. These can all be warning signs.
  • If you have friends and family that stay close to the place, ask them to go and verify if it is legitimate.

"To avoid scams, consider checking out properties from reputable travel websites and agents in advance and never respond to online and social media adverts without verifying that the sources are legitimate," concludes Mungar.

For media queries contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

A guide to managing you debt


02 April 2017: If you find yourself relying on debt and not your income to survive every month, it is a sign that you need to evaluate your finances to get financial stability.

Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education at FNB says "it may seem hard at the beginning to make changes to your daily routines, but looking at the end goal is encouraging. Therefore, you should carefully re-evaluate your budget and prioritise paying off debt as quickly as possible."

For consumers who are battling with debt, Sibiya recommends the following measures:

Change the behavior that caused debt problems
The first step of getting out of debt is looking at what got you into debt. Acknowledge the challenge and evaluate your spending pattern as well as your lifestyle. Once you have done this, cut down on unnecessary expenses and channel the money towards paying debt

List all your debts
List all the creditors you owe, the amount owed and the interest of each debt. Then prioritise your debt either by interest rate or the balance of each debt. In addition, decide how much you can afford to pay a month for each debt. Be realistic about what you can afford and stick to your budget in order to avoid defaulting on any payment.

"Consider paying a lump sum to one of your debts while still servicing other debts. Once you have paid off one account, channel the money into servicing the other debts so that you can pay it off as quickly as possible," says Sibiya.

Set periodic goals
Now that you have listed all your debts and have a plan on how you will be paying them off, set a time frame and work towards achieving your goal within the set time. "This will require commitment and discipline from start to finish. The desired goal will be rewarding at the end of the hurdle," says Sibiya.

Track your progress
Track your progress every three months. This will allow you to relook your payment plans to see if it is working or not. If the progress is positive, you will be encouraged and driven to look at the long term benefit of being disciplined and committed to a debt free life. "During this challenging journey, avoid taking more debt until you have paid of all your dues. Discipline and commitment will lead you to financial independence," concludes Sibiya.

For more information contact:
Chloe Hackland − FNB Corporate Communications
Tel: 087 311 9124 or Email: chackland@fnb.co.za

Demystifying five common life insurance myths


23 April 2017: Despite increasing awareness about the importance of having life insurance, some consumers remain confused and undecided due to myths that uninformed people spread through the grapevine.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life says "Death is usually the last subject people look forward to discussing over the dinner table. Similarly, life insurance conversations are viewed in the same light and further perpetuated by misconceptions that this form of cover is complex and not easy to take up."

Bromfeld demystifies common myths that consumers have about life insurance:

You'll be subjected to extreme laboratory testing before getting cover
When taking up life insurance you need to complete a medical examination to determine your risk level. A practitioner will either ask you a few medical questions over the phone or a professional nurse may take blood tests at the comfort of your home or workplace. The process is often quick and efficient.

Wealthy people don't need life insurance
While every situation is unique, life insurance plays a significant role when wealthy individuals pass on wealth to the next generation. It can give heirs and beneficiaries peace of mind knowing that costs related to winding up a deceased estate are catered for. For business owners, costs related to selling and liquidating the business or transferring ownership can be covered through life insurance.

Only married people need life insurance
One of the biggest misconceptions about life insurance is that if you are single, don't have children or still young, you do not need cover. Life insurance caters for anyone that is financially dependent on you in the unfortunate event that you pass away

Prevailing health issues will prevent you from getting cover
You may pay a slightly higher premium than the average person if you have a pre-existing health issue, due to your risk profile. However, if the health condition is well managed, you should have no challenges getting life insurance. For example, there are many people living with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma that have life cover.

"Moreover, people that engage in dangerous hobbies and habits like smoking are also eligible for life cover," explains Bromfield.

I have adequate cover through my employer
Cover provided by employers often comes with its own terms and conditions and ends when you leave your job. Solely relying on this cover can leave you uninsured and result in you paying hefty premiums if you take cover when you are much older.

"There are quite a number of misconceptions that exist about life insurance in general. If you are looking to take up life cover, it is advisable to speak to a professional or your financial services provider to avoid getting misleading and inaccurate information," concludes Bromfield.

For media queries contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Bring back the rains! Implications of persistent drought in the Western Cape


05 April 2017: The agricultural sector has overall survived the worst of the recent drought that gripped the country over the past three years; however, the Western Cape has not been as fortunate - damn levels are low and the lack of rain has led to decreasing soil moisture that is threatening production.

The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) reported that dam levels have eased marginally as we approach the end of the rainy season in the summer production areas, reaching 73.7% full versus 54.8% last year during the week ended 03 April 2017. In contrast, the summer rainfall areas of the Western Cape (WC) did not receive sufficient rainfall and dam levels remain critically low at 24.2% full compared to 31.2% last year this time.

"Recent weather forecasts indicate that we might see a return of the El Nino weather pattern in the new season (2017/18), however, it is early days as the situation may improve. Already, the weather forecasts have signalled a possibility of above normal rainfall for late autumn to mid-winter which is a welcome relief for the Western Cape winter crop areas" says Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business.

Makube shares some implications from the drought that is gripping the agricultural sector in the Western Cape.

Wine - Production volumes have declined. However, the drier conditions in general mean improved quality of wine. The lower volumes may lead to a modest increase in prices to the benefit of the producers.

Fruit and vegetables - Not all areas in the Western Cape are badly affected by the drought: an example is the Ceres region which is reportedly doing fine. We must however differentiate between water available for human consumption and that for irrigation. Although the situation with dam levels is dire, some farmers have on-farm water storage capacity for irrigation which is not for human consumption. Nonetheless, some vegetable farmers who do not have this capacity are expected to face a bleak future if it does not rain sooner.

Grain production - the rainy season normally starts beginning of May, so everything is not yet lost. Fortunately, the rainfall outlook has since improved with the possibility of above-normal showers in the winter ahead which will be beneficial for wheat and other winter crops. This will also help alleviate the current water shortages across the Western Cape. Some farmers have opted to diversify into barley production, a product only produced in the southern Cape in the past.

Livestock - the persistent drought conditions are devastating for livestock producers especially for beef, dairy and culling. Stock reduction will result in elevated prices. During a drought, animals lose condition and production suffers which erodes the farmer's margins.

"While both the overall SA producer and consumer inflation are expected to moderate in the coming months, local trends may remain stubbornly high if the drought conditions persists. The agri-value chain may come under pressure and impede potential job growth in the sector. With that said we remain hopeful that the much needed rains will return in the coming month," concludes Makube.

For media queries, contact: FNB Corporate Communications
Benedict Siyotula: Benedict.Siyotula@fnb.co.za or 087 7365227

Cheaper office space for SME's. A business address in a residential area


April 2017: There is a growing trend of businesses opting to move away from office parks into residential areas. This may seem unconventional, but there are certain financial benefits for SME's to make this move.

"With the by-laws considered, yes, buying or renting office space in a residential area makes financial sense" , says Attie Anderson, Head of FNB Commercial Property Finance.

Anderson takes a look at some key considerations that a business has to take into account when deciding to buy or rent office space in a residential area.

What must one consider in terms of where to buy?
The biggest consideration is access to the property. Are the access and exit points adequate for the expected visitors to the premises? Is the site in close proximity to major routes? How will peak hour traffic affect access to the premises?

What are the stumbling blocks with owning commercial property in a residential space?
Residential areas are prone to traffic stacking during peak times, especially close to schools and residents may complain about the rate of activity. In residential areas, sufficient parking space may also be limited.

What are the legislative considerations?
One needs to ensure that the zoning of the property caters for the specific business to be operated thereon. The zoning of the property attaches to the property itself, and not to the owner thereof. In some cases you may require special permission from the local authority ("consent use"). Consent use is normally granted to the owner of the property, with certain strict conditions to be adhered to. This consent use may not be transferred to subsequent owners (consent use therefore attaches to the owner, not the property).

How are rates and taxes calculated? Rates are calculated in accordance with the rates policy of the Council in which jurisdiction the property is situated. Properties with business zoning are calculated at a higher tariff than residential properties. The valuation of the property is normally multiplied by the tariff and divided by 12 to obtain the monthly rates applicable to that property. The valuation of the property will normally differ from area to area.

Is it good to rent or own this type of property?
It is always better to own property in a good area as it will appreciate in value and as you grow it might be an asset that you will either rent out or sell at a reasonable profit.

What types of businesses are best suited for residential areas?
A look at the sector suggests that professionals such as doctors, dentists, accountants and real estate agents seem to move more to residential areas. Other industries that seem to benefit are beauty salons, printing franchises and smaller service providers such as plumbers and electricians.

"The decision to go into a residential area must be one that looks at the long term strategy of the business and its growth prospects, but on the whole, it is clear that there is merit in exploring office space in a residential area" concludes Anderson.

For media queries, contact: FNB Corporate Communications
Benedict Siyotula: Benedict.Siyotula@fnb.co.za or 087 7365227

Breakfast? Yes Please! The cost of bread, dairy, eggs and maize after the drought


07 March 2017: The agricultural sector has survived the worst of the drought that gripped South Africa in the past three years. The recent rains have however positioned the sector favourably in parts of the country.

Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business takes a look at how the drought and subsequent recovery has impacted four basic breakfast foods, namely; eggs, maize, dairy and bread.

Dairy:
This industry has seen pastures improving, thereby reducing the frequency for the need for irrigation which translates to lower electricity costs. In addition, supply outlook for grain crops has improved and the subsequent decline in prices from the second half of 2017 indicates a reduction in food manufacturing cost is eminent.

Producer prices are expected to approach the long-term average share of approximately 37% of the retail prices. "We should see stable to firmer demand with new marketing strategies to reach more consumers in the country, the rebound in the industry following a devastating drought looks positive", explains Makube.

Eggs:

The egg market is stable and producer prices remain at profitable levels. Prices at consumer level have also remained relatively stable with a steady increase on an average of 6% year on year in January 2017.

"We've seen a lot of suppliers enter the eggs market which has increased supplies and placed profitability under pressure. Nonetheless, producers do have an option to reduce their stocks by shortening the lifecycles of their layer hens. The improved grain production outlook bodes well for feed prices, as feeding margins improve towards mid-year" adds Makube.

Bread:
According to statistics issued by the Agbiz, South Africa's total bread production grew by 12% year-on-year (y/y) in December 2016 to a total of 182 million loaves. The growth came from brown bread, it moved up from 82 million loaves in January to 90 million loaves. In fact, from October to December 2016, brown bread production was consistently higher than white bread. Prices of loaves of white and brown bread (700g) increased by 14% and 13% y/y at R13.60 and R12.28 respectively. The price of a loaf of white bread however slowed in January 2017, finishing up 11% y/y while that of brown bread was up 13% y/y.

Maize:
The price of the staple food, white maize, has for the first time in 2017 fallen below R2 000 per ton currently trading at R1 917/ ton, an advantage for food inflation which has remained sticky at double digit levels of 11.8% y/y in January 2017. The latest production estimates indicates a harvest of 13.9 million tons of total maize with the white variety up by almost 144% y/y at 8.3 million tons.

"While this is the first production estimate and is likely to change as the season progresses, our view is that it is likely to improve given the good production conditions. However, the excessive moisture if rains persist coupled with early frost for some areas may result in a slight downward revision to the current crop estimate in the months ahead" cautions Makube.

"The continued fall in maize prices on a year-on-year basis is expected to begin to filter through into the feed prices. Maize is a major input cost component, and a reduction in prices effectively means we will see feed prices begin to slowly stabilise. Agriculture is not out of the woods yet, but it is on its way out of the red and back into the black", concludes Makube.

Eight banking scams to lookout for


20 February 2017: As access to banking services through digital channels continues to grow, so does the need to protect consumers against the prevalence of online banking fraud.

FNB views security as an integral part of a seamless online banking experience. Therefore, due to the prevalence of banking scams, consumers are urged to be more vigilant and familiarise themselves with the different types of online banking fraud.

The bank proactively closes down fraudulent phishing websites used by criminals to try and access customers' confidential banking details.

These are the latest online banking scams that consumers should be wary of:

Flight purchase debit scams - you will receive an SMS informing you of a flight purchase debited to your account. Fraudsters will request you to select a link in the SMS to revise the transaction.

When you select the link, you will be redirected to a fake FNB website. You are then redirected to an 'Update and Confirm Details' screen requesting more information to be verified. The fraudsters will now be in a position to access your banking profile.

Social media scams - beware of fraudsters pretending to represent FNB or RB Jacobs on social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WhatsApp or any other social media platform. We will never ask for your credit or cheque card, account number, online banking login details or password or One Time PIN (OTP) on social media platforms. FNB's official social media accounts are @FNBSA and @RBJacobs on Twitter and FNBSA on Facebook. The official accounts also display a blue tick indicating that they are verified.

Change of banking details scam - you will receive an email that pretends to come from one of your suppliers asking you to update your banking details. Beware of this even if it is on the supplier's letterhead.

Contact your supplier on the number that you already have for them and not the one on the fraudulent letter. Speak to someone you know at the supplier to confirm the change in banking details.

Copy of payment notification scam - you will receive an email requesting you to open a copy of your payment notification. Fraudsters will prompt you to login via the email attachment.

When you open the attachment in the email, you will be redirected to a fake FNB website. In an attempt to steal your banking details you will be requested to login. As soon as you enter your login details on the screen, you are redirected to a successfully logged out screen. The fraudsters will now be in a position to access your banking profile.

419 scams - this is communication by e-mail to a recipient making an offer that would result in a large pay off for the recipient. The details vary and large amounts of money are usually involved. Invariably, the victims' banking details as well as sums of money are said to be required in advance in order to facilitate the payment of the funds. Essentially, the promised money transfer never happens and in addition the fraudsters may use the victims' banking details to withdraw money for themselves.

Vishing and smishing scams - this is phishing, but instead of being lured to a fake website via email, you receive a call or SMS, where the individual pretends to be from the bank or other companies and gets you to disclose personal information such as your ID number, address, account number, username, login details, password and PIN. This information can also be used to gain unauthorised access to your banking account online.

OTP Email Fraud - using various methods of phishing, criminals also try to get access to your email accounts, commonly Gmail, Yahoo, etc. They produce fake login sites that look like Gmail or Yahoo. Once they have your email username and password, they have access to your emails (statements, personal communications) and this helps a criminal to build a social profile of you. Criminals can also intercept One Time Pins (OTPs) that are sent to emails once they have access to your email account.

OTP SIM Swop Fraud - once criminals are in possession of your username and password, they can easily access your accounts on Online Banking. They can also contact your service provider to do a Sim Swop which basically means that they hijack your sim and have access to your SMS. This also gives them access to your One Time Pin (OTP).

The bank will never ask for your username, password or PIN in an email, SMS, social media or phone call. Never select a link to our website that was sent via email. Always type in FNB's web address.

FNB has recently released Smart inContact on the FNB Banking App 5.0 which prevents OTP fraud by delivering an Online Banking transaction confirmation to your verified banking app. You confirm the transaction on the FNB App. FNB will not send OTPs to your cellphone, but instead to your verified FNB App. To verify your FNB Banking App, simply login to Online Banking from your regular computer, click Online Banking Settings - then My Devices and verify your app.

Tips to stay safe:

  • Never click on links in emails. FNB will never ask you to click on a link
  • If someone calls and pretends to be from a reputable company, be wary if they start asking for information that is personal. Rather, hang up and call the company on any of its official numbers to verify the call.
  • Your username and password for banking, email and other websites should always be different.
  • Regularly change passwords and PIN numbers.
  • Download or Update the FNB Banking App and verify your device to receive Smart inContact to approve Online Banking transactions.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or 087 335 8277

Uptick in consumers banking outside normal banking hours


Johannesburg; 15 February 2017 - FNB is seeing rapid growth in the number of consumers that are doing their banking outside the normal banking hours due to the convenience of Automated Deposit Tellers (ADTs) which do not require users to go inside the branch.

ADTs are self-help terminals that allow consumers to conduct a number of transactions without having to go into the branch.

"The growing ADT usage trend points to consumers' comfort levels in using ADTs as a multipurpose channel. As a result all FNB branches are now equipped with ADT machines in line with the bank's strategy to migrate customers to self-service electronic channels. Education remains central to our migration strategy; we invested a significant amount of time in educating customers about ADT functionalities," says Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB Points of Presence.

"This will allow in-branch service consultants to process more complex transactions and decrease the amount of time each customer spends queuing inside the branch," she adds.

FNB reveals that between August and November 2016, it saw a five-fold increase in the number of bank statements printed via ADTs across nearly 1 700 FNB ADT devices spread across South Africa. In addition, customers use ADTs for cash deposits, prepaid purchases such as airtime and electricity. Other functions include PIN changes, daily withdrawal limit adjustments, card cancellations, sending money and making inter-account transfers.

The devices also cater for cardless deposits which allow banked or non-banked consumers to make cash deposits without a card being present, driving transactional volumes on electronic devices.

"It's becoming increasingly important to allow consumers access to banking services beyond the usual banking hours. We believe that the trend of using self-service platforms will continue to grow and banks will have to cater for the needs of the modern-day customers," concludes Van Zyl.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Dumezulu Shiburi: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za or 087 328 0990

Contactless 'tap' payments soar as users and merchants adapt to the new technology


13th March 2017 - FNB Credit Card has seen a sharp increase of 270% over the last six months in 'tap' payment transactions as users and merchants adapt to contactless payment technology.

While the number of contactless transactions by customers averaged 1.5 'taps' per month in May 2015, they climbed to an average of 2.5 per customer by January 2017. Significantly, the number of customers using the technology has risen sharply by 227% in the last six months.

"Contactless payments create a convenient and secure payment environment for both customer and merchant," says Gareth Rimmington, head of operations at FNB Credit Card.

"The current perception is that contactless payments are for small 'on-the-go' amounts, but in reality the tap functionality is available for high value amounts and the customer would merely have to enter their card pin to verify for larger amounts. However, some retailers may have their own limits.

"The adoption of new payment technology is almost always accompanied by a degree of scepticism but this is where customer education plays an important role to ensure there is a level of comfort," adds Rimmington.

All credit and debit cards issued by FNB are now contactless 'tap' enabled, meaning that customers are able to securely pay for their goods at merchants without the card leaving their hands. The bank started issuing contactless enabled cards in May 2015 and already has over 1 million in the market.

Security features include encryption technology which protects the card's contactless data from reproduction as well as the fact that customers are required to input their PIN after a number of 'taps'.

"For merchants, contactless 'tap' payments make a big difference in terms of queuing time as payments are faster. Contactless 'tap' payments are finding wide adoption both nationally and internationally, so we can expect the payment space to continue to evolve rapidly as new technologies are developed," concludes Rimmington.

For more information contact:
Chloe Hackland: chackland@fnb.co.za or 087 311 9124

The cost of bread, dairy, eggs and maize after the drought


07 March 2017: The agricultural sector has survived the worst of the drought that gripped South Africa in the past three years. The recent rains have however positioned the sector favourably in parts of the country.

Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist at FNB Business takes a look at how the drought and subsequent recovery has impacted four basic breakfast foods, namely; eggs, maize, dairy and bread.

Dairy:
This industry has seen pastures improving, thereby reducing the frequency for the need for irrigation which translates to lower electricity costs. In addition, supply outlook for grain crops has improved and the subsequent decline in prices from the second half of 2017 indicates a reduction in food manufacturing cost is eminent.

Producer prices are expected to approach the long-term average share of approximately 37% of the retail prices. "We should see stable to firmer demand with new marketing strategies to reach more consumers in the country, the rebound in the industry following a devastating drought looks positive", explains Makube.

Eggs:
The egg market is stable and producer prices remain at profitable levels. Prices at consumer level have also remained relatively stable with a steady increase on an average of 6% year on year in January 2017.

"We've seen a lot of suppliers enter the eggs market which has increased supplies and placed profitability under pressure. Nonetheless, producers do have an option to reduce their stocks by shortening the lifecycles of their layer hens. The improved grain production outlook bodes well for feed prices, as feeding margins improve towards mid-year" adds Makube.

Bread:
According to statistics issued by the Agbiz, South Africa's total bread production grew by 12% year-on-year (y/y) in December 2016 to a total of 182 million loaves. The growth came from brown bread, it moved up from 82 million loaves in January to 90 million loaves. In fact, from October to December 2016, brown bread production was consistently higher than white bread. Prices of loaves of white and brown bread (700g) increased by 14% and 13% y/y at R13.60 and R12.28 respectively. The price of a loaf of white bread however slowed in January 2017, finishing up 11% y/y while that of brown bread was up 13% y/y.

Maize:
The price of the staple food, white maize, has for the first time in 2017 fallen below R2 000 per ton currently trading at R1 917/ ton, an advantage for food inflation which has remained sticky at double digit levels of 11.8% y/y in January 2017. The latest production estimates indicates a harvest of 13.9 million tons of total maize with the white variety up by almost 144% y/y at 8.3 million tons.

"While this is the first production estimate and is likely to change as the season progresses, our view is that it is likely to improve given the good production conditions. However, the excessive moisture if rains persist coupled with early frost for some areas may result in a slight downward revision to the current crop estimate in the months ahead" cautions Makube.

"The continued fall in maize prices on a year-on-year basis is expected to begin to filter through into the feed prices. Maize is a major input cost component, and a reduction in prices effectively means we will see feed prices begin to slowly stabilise. Agriculture is not out of the woods yet, but it is on its way out of the red and back into the black", concludes Makube.

A look at global economic impact on local SMME's


01 March 2017 - The global economy has become ever more complex and consequently, fragile and susceptible to financial and economic uncertainty.

The 21st century has seen the fastest growth in human advancement in just about every sector, the World Wide Web is 25 years old, and the internet itself is just 45 years old. The corner store is fast evaporating and global trends now have a direct impact on the local SMME.

On a local level, SMMEs account for over 90% of formalised businesses; they also provide employment to more than half the country's labour force with an estimated 34% contribution to South Africa's GDP. This makes the SME sector very important in resolving the high unemployment in the country. Leaders in this sector of society must be quick to act and flexible enough to adapt to the ever changing economic environments if we are to achieve the goals set out in governments National Development Plan.

Here are some key global insights that will have an impact on business and entrepreneurs:

Geopolitical change - China continues to move towards being a world leader economically and politically. The US, UK and the EU are struggling with their own domestic, economic and political issues. It has therefore become clear that there is a definite impact on businesses especially in emerging markets such as South Africa.

Exports and imports of businesses trading internationally will be affected due to the impact on the Rand. There would be a need for local businesses to be responsive.

Globalisation - China was very vocal about its support for globalisation at this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. An increase in globalisation usually has a negative impact for small open economies. This puts added pressure on local businesses and upcoming entrepreneurs, as a result of increased competition. For small businesses to compete, that would mean that they find means of generating additional capital, which might be already difficult given strict lending requirements.

Inclusive Growth - The concept of inclusive growth talks to the benefit of all citizens in an economy. The easing of current regulations is one way in which to achieve inclusive growth, creating more opportunities for entrepreneurs.

Education is important in terms of upskilling the workforce, improving entrepreneurial skill by means of accessible and affordable business incubations, as well as incorporating entrepreneurship in the schooling system - this all drives inclusive growth.

Fourth Industrial Revolution - there is ongoing talk about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (the fast moving rate of Artificial Intelligence (AI)) and the positive or negative impact it could have on human capital. McKinsey's prediction is that approximately half of the current jobs could be replaced by robots by 2055.

Given that a significant amount of job creation is expected from small business, there needs to be an understanding, on how to have a solid balance between increasing employment for the South African economy, the use of technology in business and our readiness to become more automated.

Buying your first home in 2017


23 January 2017 - Buying your first home is very exciting and if 2017 is the year in which you plan to make this leap, ensure that you have done as much research as possible to make a good choice from both a financial and personal point of view.

"There are many factors that need to be taken into account when buying your first house which don't only include the actual costs that come with a home," says Albertus van Staden, head of credit for FNB Housing Finance.

It is imperative to have a grasp of the bigger picture when it comes to buying a home. Factors such as what is happening in the property market, the interest rates as well as in your own life. Understanding these aspects could make a big difference to whether your first home is a boom or bust.

What is happening in the property market?
According to the FNB House Price Index, the property market is currently stagnant with an increase of a mere 3% expected over this year in nominal value, although there are signs that the economy is improving.

"While you may not have paid much attention to the expected house price growth, this is something to take note of, because if house prices are stagnant it will take much longer for you to recuperate the full amount, this includes which includes the costs related to the transaction should you decide to sell for any reason," says van Staden.

For example, if your home cost R600 000 you would have paid around R29 000 in transfer, bond costs and initiation fees. If you want to sell within a year you will likely be left with a shortfall assuming little in the way of house price growth.

If the property market only grows by the 3% and you sell at the end of the year, you are still left with a shortfall of R11 000. This is before you have even added the costs to cancel the bond and estate agent commission for helping you sell your property.

What is happening in the general economy?
Taking note of what is going on in the South African economy is important, as interest rates, inflation as well as expectations of the job market may have a direct impact on your home buying aspirations.

"Other expected changes, such as those in food prices or the cost of petrol can all have an impact on your pocket and affordability," says van Staden. "So stress test your budget, which means assume that the cost of living will go up and see if you can still afford to pay the basics and your house cost."

It is also important to have understood which industries are battling in 2017.

"If you are in an industry that is predicted to struggle in 2017, or is currently struggling, you need to be aware that you may not receive a bonus or salary increase, this will squeeze your disposal income," says van Staden. "In extreme cases there may be the chance of retrenchment, so ensure that you have enough of a financial buffer for a period of say around three months."

Be aware of your own personal circumstances?
The most important factors to take into account when buying your first home is where you are in your own life stage.

You need to ask yourself questions such as why are you buying a home, is it for investment purposes, security for you and your family and how long do you intend to stay? If you plan on living in your property for a long period of time, is it big enough should you want to start a family or want to upgrade later?

"Buying a home is a long financial and personal commitment," cautions van Staden. "You need to be sure that you are in a space to be a home owner, because, if you take the example above, you will see that you don't make money in the short-term."

This means:

  • Being in a good place financially; having a strong reserve of cash for a deposit and to show the bank you are able to save.
  • Having a good budget in place which also takes into account any external increases throughout the year such as rates and taxes, food or petrol prices.
  • Being settled - not planning a move for at least a few years
  • Having financial discipline to pay for the bond as well as all the additional costs that comes with being home owners such as rates and taxes.

"Owing your very own home is a great ambition. If you are financially and personally solid, you will be in a good place to buy your first home this year," concludes van Staden.

FNB discontinues safe custody storage in its branches


Johannesburg, 9 March 2017: FNB has taken a decision to discontinue the provision of safe custody storage in branches that offer the service. The decision follows the bank's regular review of service offerings to align with its business strategy, as well as the assessment of the product's sustainability.

With immediate effect, FNB will not accept any new safe custody applications from existing or new customers.

FNB will be notifying impacted individual and business customers to make arrangements to collect their safe custody valuables from the branches in which they are stored. While customers are advised to make collection arrangements by 1 June 2017 , the bank will give customers until 30 June 2017 to complete all collections.

While FNB will make all reasonable attempts to contact every affected customer through the contact details they have supplied, a customer that may have not received the sms, telephone call and official letter can also contact their respective branch to make collection arrangements.

Individual and business customers that have access to private bankers and relationship managers will also receive assistance via these dedicated channels.

In the interim, the bank reminds customers that it is necessary to take out suitable insurance cover for all valuables held in safe custody in accordance with the terms and conditions of the service.

FNB's decision to cease the safe custody storage service enables the bank to focus on continuously improving customer experience through its range of services. The bank remains committed to providing an unparalleled customer experience.

Mistakes to avoid when insuring your spouse


23 January 2017 - Consumers who make that important financial decision to take out life insurance on their spouses should first consult their partners to avoid making costly mistakes.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life says insuring the life of your spouse involves more than just getting a policy as every committed relationship and marriage is different and has a unique set of financial needs and obligations.

"Before embarking on this exercise, couples should first reach mutual understanding on the type of life cover, amount insured, provision for children or dependents, beneficiaries, as well as their broader financial responsibilities, to ensure that they are adequately protected in the unfortunate event that one of them falls ill or passes away," says Bromfield.

He advises couples considering taking this important financial step to avoid making the following mistakes:

Not getting your partner's consent
Get your partner's consent before starting the process as this improves transparency and removes the element of surprise when one partner gets a call from a provider to finalise the take up process.

Not being clear on what you both want
Couples predominantly take out life insurance for two main reasons, one is to protect assets and the other is to safeguard their financial future.

"It's important to be on the same page about what to cover and for how much. This is also an opportunity to agree on who you both want as beneficiaries, even beyond just the two of you," he says.

Reluctance to seek financial advice
In some cases, couples may want to consider using the services of a financial adviser to get the real picture of their financial situation.

"Professional advice is very useful when a couple does not agree or are simply not sure about what to insure and for how much. An adviser could be helpful as they would look at the finances of both partners and make recommendations on how to take up the most suitable type of insurance," he adds.

Not keeping each other informed of any changes
Even though you may have consulted or informed your partner before taking out a policy, you still need to keep one another informed about important policy changes.

"The last thing you want as a spouse is to assume that you are still your partner's sole beneficiary only to find out that's no longer the case," concludes Bromfield.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or 087 335 8277

High unemployment highlights need to invest in SMEs


15 February 2017 - The latest Quarterly Labour Force statistics put unemployment at over 26.5%, highlighting the desperate need for both government and private sector to prioritise investment into building up entrepreneurial ventures that will drive job creation.

According to Mags Ponnan, Head of Customer Value Propositions at FNB Business; SMEs need to be a greater focus area for growth, if we are to decrease the unemployment numbers.

* A number of statistics estimate that SMEs account for over 90% of formalised businesses; they also provide employment to more than half the country's labour force with an estimated 34% contribution to South Africa's GDP.

"We have seen the impact of low growth projections affecting many sectors resulting in many industries shedding jobs; our approach to job creation needs to be far more creative as we cannot continue to rely on established industries to absorb the unemployed. Establishing and investing into scalable startups is a worthwhile plan for lessening unemployment," adds Ponnan.

He explains that the goal with a focus on SME's must be far more than just providing funding and incubation, resources should be focused on actively developing SME's that are starting to or are in the process of scaling up. Usually these SME's are expanding their staff compliment, growing their geographical footprint or by re-inventing their product offering in order to tap into a new market, thereby increasing their customer base - in each instance, there is a direct impact on job creation.

Government has put SMEs at the heart of the country's growth strategy as packaged in the Nine-Point Plan to help create the much needed jobs and has increased the support for black industrialists. Improvement in the implementation of these government measures, with assistance from the private sector and a balanced approach to the selection of SMEs that have potential, is where the magic lives.

"South Africa is capable of reaching well over the current growth rate; however, this will not be brought about by a focus on traditional industries as many of these have reached their maturity stage. Decreasing unemployment will take a solid partnership from the private sector and the government to create and manage acceleration programs that have a greater focus on supporting scalable small to medium enterprises with a view to create sustainable entities," concludes Ponnan.

What is the latest buzz in Franchising?


07 February 2017 - Much has been said about the slothful state of the economy and have echoed sentiments that 2017 is not going to be a walk in the park. The franchising sector has however found its way through the slow economy with industries such as the fast food segment showing positive growth in 2016.

That said, franchising in South Africa is still not fully realising its true growth potential and franchises need to continue to plan ahead, innovate and adapt to changing market conditions to ensure that they stay abreast of the changing business environment.

"The splendour of franchising is that you're in business for yourself but not by yourself, however, one has to let go of the myth that franchising brings instant success. It is a safer type of business because it is part of an established brand: the risk nevertheless is not necessarily lower," says Morne Cronje, Head of Franchising at FNB Business.

He shares some of his views on what to monitor in the franchising sector:

Effects of the current economy on franchising - A slowing economy creates opportunities and we will see new niche concepts entering the market. We will also see existing concepts refocusing on their core business making sure their Franchise network is profitable. Franchisors looking to expand their network will tend to grant a second or multiple units to existing franchisees that have proven that they can make a success of their franchise, than taking a risk with a new franchisee.

Segments that are performing in franchising South Africa is increasingly becoming the destination of global franchise concepts especially in the food chain franchisors. Many global brands are expanding into South Africa. This increased competition is very good news for the sector. Competition will create more market awareness, improved service, quality and price.

The automotive sector is an interesting sector to observe with new car sales remaining depressed as cash strapped consumers continue to opt to keep their cars, as a result the pre-owned car sales market is on the increase. We are also most likely to see growth in concepts that sell tyres; spare parts, batteries and non-structural vehicle repairs as consumers look to stretch their Rand.

We have also noticed growth in hardware franchises, which we link to a growing DIY culture in the country.

Challenges franchisees will face - As with any other business, the ultimate litmus test for a business is cash flow - so the age old business advice remains, manage your money proactively.

You need to seriously consider the effect that interest rates will have on the cost of running the business. In most cases, a franchisee needs to put up a 50% unencumber owners capital investment, the other 50% is normally financed, its repayment will be impacted by the interest rate as it will be linked to the prime lending rate - ensure that this has been accounted for.

A really important consideration in franchising is the proposed minimum rates of wages that government is moving to put in as law. It will no doubt affect budgets and will have a direct impact on cash flow.

Franchisee should be actively involved in their businesses - Franchising must be treated like an active investment. The franchisee must be 100% dedicated to the business - do not leave it to managers to run the business. If you as the franchisee are invested in the franchise, you can ensure that costs are managed; cash flow is managed; and most importantly you can plan ahead.

Cronje emphasises that the days of buying into the right brand and expecting automatic success are long gone. "We need to raise the profile of the industry and ensure economic growth in the country for decades to come and the best way to achieve this is to always plan ahead in a competitive landscape."

How to use tax free benefits to ease possible rise in tax


Johannesburg; 19 February 2017 - Consumers are encouraged to use tax free savings vehicles to ease the possibility of increased tax burden after 2017 National Budget Speech. Consumers have until 28 February 2017 to make use of their R30 000 maximum tax free allocation for the current tax year.

Aneesa Razack, CEO of FNB Share Investing says it's vital to make use of this window even if you do not use the full R30 000 maximum allocation.

"To use their tax-free benefits, consumers have an option to buy tax-free shares with a R30 000 maximum lump sum or make R300 monthly contributions to reach their annual allocation without paying any tax on returns or dividends on the investment. The tax-free benefit also puts you in a position to earn better compound interest over time."

Razack further cautions consumers not to rest on their laurels, noting that, "While 2017 is partly expected to be better than 2016, people should not leave their financial wellbeing to chance. One of the easiest ways to take charge of one's financial independence is to constantly boost your cash reserves."

For consumers who may be struggling to create financial room to start investing or saving, Razack recommends the following measures to get you started:

  • Review fixed and variable costs: Knowing your fixed and variable expenses will be a good start to your financial independence journey. Fixed expenses are things like your bond or vehicle loan.
  • Be honest with yourself: It's almost certain that not all your money goes to necessities, and if you are honest with yourself when looking at your finances, you stand a better chance of making progress.
  • Set financial goals: Once you have a good understanding of your finances, you need to set a goal and a realistic timeline to achieve that goal.
  • Consult an adviser: Financial advice is becoming a critical component for consumers who are serious about attaining financial independence. Using the services of a professional could be hugely beneficial.
  • Choose an investment product: Choose the right product for you. Many people tend to opt for cash platforms because that's what they are familiar with, but investing in shares or unit trusts is easy and convenient.

"We don't know what this year has in store for the South African economy but irrespective, it's always important to plan properly and have your financial destiny firmly in your hands," concludes Razack.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Dumezulu Shiburi: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za or 087 328 0990

Africa's strongest banking brand delivers solid results


We're proud to announce that FNB has received global recognition as one of the world's most powerful banking brands, ranked 4th in the banking category of Brand Finance's Brand Strength Index (BSI) for 2017.

According to Brand Finance, BSI analysis is based on marketing investment, brand equity (the goodwill accumulated with customers, staff and other stakeholders) and the impact of those on business performance.

Overview

  • Satisfactory overall profit growth, strong operational momentum and particularly pleasing performances from Premium and Business Segments.
  • Credit portfolio is well positioned on the back of appropriate risk cut backs and origination strategies. Good progress in further product and pricing re-configuration, particularly in lower Consumer Segment, led to Revenue impact.
  • Great strides in the e-race leaves FNB well placed to benefit from further digital transformation.
  • A perfect storm for a number of our operations in our Africa portfolio, but continued commitment and investment through the cycle in support of long-term diversified expansion strategy.

Johannesburg, 9 March - FNB SA returned a 6% increase in profits before tax underpinned by strong results from its Business and Premium segments. The bank saw good growth in deposits and continued traction in its save and invest strategies. Profits from the operations in the rest of Africa fell on the back of credit issues especially in Zambia and Mozambique due to difficult macro business conditions.

"We are pleased with the 6% growth in the overall domestic customer base, with some 12% growth in overall transactional volumes and especially with the pace at which our digital platforms continue being adopted with app volumes up a respectable 80% year-on-year," says FNB CEO Jacques Celliers.

FNB had standout performances in its Business and Premium Segments as a result of customer base growth and further entrenchment and share of wallet across the respective segments with Commercial producing a 16% increase in profits.

"A number of exciting product and pricing simplification initiatives have been rolled out during H1 in the lower end of our Consumer Segment offering to streamline our primary bank offering to that market which had a once-off negative impact to our non-interest revenue. But, by deliberately placing customers in simpler and more affordable product and pricing options and stepping up the manner in which we give access to banking services allows us to build stronger relationships for the future," adds Mr Celliers.

Growth in advances was deliberately slowed across all categories of lending in line with the bank's more conservative lending stance given the weaker macros with impairment results in line with expectations.

"Looking forward, we can see that improvements in the underlying economy and our vigorous efforts to contain costs for the bank will yield positive outcomes for our customers. We remain committed to our operations in the rest of Africa and to our start-up business in Ghana," concludes Mr Celliers.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Lwazi Stuurman: LStuurman@fnb.co.za or 087 312 5904

Notes to Editor
FNB accolades 2016 & 2017

  • *Ranked Africa's most powerful banking brand by Brand Finance® Banking 500 Report 2017
  • SA's Coolest Bank - Sunday Times Generation Next Survey 2012 - 2017
  • Sunday Times Top Brands Survey #1 Business Bank 2013 - 2016
  • Bank with the Strongest Reputation - 2015 and 2016 RepTrak™ Pulse Survey
  • Awarded most innovative MVNO in the 2015 and 2016 Telecoms.com Awards
  • Voted the best digital bank, internet banking site and mobile banking experience in South Africa by SAcsi Survey
  • 2016 and Columinate Internet Banking SITEisfaction Survey 2016
  • FNB has been awarded Best Islamic Banking Offering by Banker Africa at the Annual Southern African Banking Awards 2016
  • The FNB Banking App has been awarded the 2016 Best in Customer Experience Award at the international Bank Customer Experience (BCX) Summit in Chicago, USA
  • BASA (Business and Arts SA) Chairman's Premier Award 2016 for the FNB JoburgArtFair
  • FNB recognised as the Best Online Financial Services Platform 2016 in the PriceCheck Tech & e-Commerce Awards
  • Most Innovative Bank in Africa - 2016 African Fintech Awards
  • Lafferty Global Awards 2017 - Excellence in mobile banking, jointly awarded to FNB and Sterling Bank of Nigeria (press release 12 Dec 2016, awards ceremony January 2017)
  • Globally recognised as SA's best foreign exchange provider by Global Finance World's best FX Providers 2017

3 questions to ask your wealth advisor about tax


02 May 2017: As wealthy individuals continue analysing new tax changes for 2017, the focus is on understanding the long-term impact of the increase in the dividends tax rate from 15% to 20%, on their family businesses

Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Wealth and RMB Private Bank, says "although wealth planning for business owners should not merely be based on tax considerations, the increased dividend withholding tax has a direct impact on estate planning, investments, as well as the overall growth and sustainability of wealth for future generations.

Enslin has identified key considerations that high-net worth families need to deliberate with their advisor pertaining to the increase in dividends tax, which came into effect on 22 February 2017:

How will family businesses navigate the Dividend Withholding Tax Policy?
It is crucial that family businesses have a carefully considered dividend policy, which will enable them to adapt to legislative and economic changes.

National Treasury commented, in the 2017 National Budget Speech, on transactions that have and are taking place to interpose companies amid existing tax structures, to circumvent the section 7C provisions of the Income Tax Act, this will result in the scope of the section 7C anti-avoidance measure being extended. We therefore wait for the draft tax legislation for more clarity in this regard. A more appropriate approach however, for a family business in these circumstances could be to rather re-invest within the existing group structure.

"Family businesses that opt to reinvest profits instead of paying dividends, as a form of cash flow to investors or shareholders, may benefit in the long-term, but such a decision will need to be based on the strategic vision and objectives of the business. This highlights the need for a transparent dividend policy, which will ensure that all shareholders are satisfied with the decision taken," explains Enslin.

How will this impact the business exit strategy?
Many wealthy families venture into business opportunities with the sole aim of selling the enterprise as an alternative way of building wealth. The structure of the business and the exit strategy will inevitably result in tax consequences. Well established family businesses need to consider capital and equity stakeholder expansion; as well as diversification, whilst taking the tax consequences, BEE and cash resources into account. The expansion plan and the new diversification strategy may also need to be considered with the exit strategy of the founders.

Are family business utilising the applicable Dividend Withholding Tax exemptions?
It is essential that a family works with their advisors to ensure that the dividends tax exemptions that are applicable to their businesses are being utilised. Whilst the tax burden for high-net worth families is broader than dividends tax, families that have carefully considered their long-term investment and wealth creation strategy, underpinned by relevant tax and compliance policies, can rely on this as a building block to assist them in attaining inter-generational wealth preservation.

"The on-going changes in tax legislation means that it is vital for high-net worth individuals and families to constantly review their legacy and wealth strategies, utilising the knowledge, expertise and guidance provided by their trusted wealth advisors," concludes Enslin.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini
Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or
087 335 8277

5 tips to get your home loan approved


17 May 2017: For many first-time buyers, the process of applying for a home loan can often be daunting as they wait eagerly for a positive response from their bank.

"Taking time to understand how banks assess home loan applications can go a long way to helping you increase the chances of getting approval," says Dr Simphiwe Madikizela, head of special projects at FNB Housing Finance.

He shares five tips to help consumers get their home applications approved without any delays:

  • Check the valuation of the property − before a home loan is approved, banks conduct their own valuation to ensure that the amount being borrowed is not far off from the market value of the property, in case the property has to be re-sold in the future.

FNB allows customers to proactively get a property and area report on the FNB App and online through Nav» Home, and compare this to the details provided by the seller or agent prior to the home loan application process.

  • Avoid taking on additional debt − many consumers mistakenly assume that banks only monitor their credit profles and perform updated affordability checks prior to the home loan approval process.

However, this process continues for at least three months until the property registration process ends. Therefore, taking on additional debt or defaulting against credit providers can result in the bank repricing and in extreme cases declining the loan altogether.

  • Saving up for a deposit − although banks occasionally grant 100% home loans, having a deposit demonstrates your ability to save and increases your chances of getting approval.
  • Get pre-approval − getting pre-approval ahead of your home loan application gives you peace of mind by knowing whether you qualify or not. Your bank will normally ask for your latest payslip, three months' bank statements, ID copy and proof of address for preapproval.
  • Checking your credit score − you are allowed to check your credit profile free of charge once a year and can also purchase reports for a minimal fee from the credit bureaus. A clean credit record is essential for getting a home loan with any financial institution.

"If you qualify financially and have met all the above requirements you are one step closer to getting approval and ultimately owning the house of your dreams," concludes Dr Madikizela.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini
Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or
087 335 8277

6 ways to stretch your electricity budget this winter


15 May 2017: Many cost conscious consumers who have converted to prepaid electricity to cut their energy bills, are still spending excessively in winter.

Shadrack Palmer, Chief Commercial Officer at FNB Service Provider says FNB customers spent on average 12% more on prepaid electricity purchases during the 2016 winter period than the period after. This was subsequent to a 9.4% average price increase in April 2016.

This year, the national energy regulator has approved a 2.2% average price increase which was implemented on 1 April 2017 for Eskom direct customers and will be effective from 1 July for municipalities.

Following on the increased usage trend during winter and the increased tariffs, Eunice Sibiya, Head of Consumer Education shares six tips on how consumers can lower their electricity bills this winter.

  • Lighting − always use energy efficient lights and avoid switching on lights in rooms that you aren't using at night.
  • Gas − consumers that use gas heaters and stoves can reduce their electricity bills substantially in winter.

Although converting to gas may require a large investment initially, consumers will save in the long term.

  • Geyser − the bulk of electricity in most households is consumed by geysers, especially in winter when it is much colder. Installing a geyser timer to manage consumption during peak times can help consumers to save.
  • Refrigerator − old freezers generally use more electricity than new ones as they work harder to maintain cool temperature. Consider servicing or replacing your old fridge to save on electricity costs.
  • Appliances on standby mode − appliances that are not completely switched off and remain on standby mode such as the TV, HiFi, decoder and microwave, collectively consume a lot of electricity at the end of the month.
  • Pool − cover your pool in winter when you are not using it as pool pumps and filters use a lot of electricity to keep it clean.

"With electricity costs continuing to increase, it has become imperative for consumers to continuously look for practical ways to reduce their consumption. Any form of saving can go a long a way in helping everyone cope in these tough times," concludes Sibiya.

FNB currently covers 65% of all local municipalities which have prepaid electricity services and includes coverage for all Eskom municipalities nationwide.

Don't overlook insuring your partner's parents


09 May 2017: Couples in long-term committed relationships often find themselves having to support their spouses financially when one of their in-laws who doesn't have adequate funeral insurance passes away.

Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life, says "Even if you have funeral cover for your own parents, you may find yourself in a financial predicament if one of your uninsured inlaws passes away as your spouse may rely on you for emotional and financial support."

For consumers who are currently bearing the brunt of tough economic conditions, this can be a huge set back given that burial expenses will be paid out of pocket.

"When you are in a long-term relationship some financial responsibilities often have to be shared. As a result, taking out funeral cover for both in-laws should become a priority for couples," adds Bromfield.

He says many couples find themselves in financial difficulties even post the funeral due to additional costs such as a tombstone unveiling, which are absorbed from the family's budget and savings.

This is often followed by funeral expenses for extended family members who rely on one of the spouses for financial support.

"Some couples in this situation often have to approach loan sharks, take out personal loans and exhaust credit cards, which has a negative impact on their finances in the long term," says Bromfield.

He advises couples to take time planning and assessing both their financial responsibilities to avoid paying for costly unforeseen events such as the passing away of a relative.

Bromfield emphasises the importance of couples deciding together who should cover their parents and extended family as well as the amount of cover necessary to afford them a dignified send-off.

"A common mistake that spouses make when insuring in-laws and extended family is taking out multiple policies. It is more cost effective to combine policies than taking out cover with different insurers," he adds.

Couples shouldn't wait until their parents reach retirement age to take out funeral cover as premiums will be more expensive. Moreover, there is often a waiting period for new policies that has to be factored in.

"Dont let poor planning come between you and your partner's financial wellbeing," says Bromfeld.

FNB Life offers funeral cover policies up to R100 000 and up to 21 family members on a single plan.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini
Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or
087 335 8277

FNB adds the Samsung Galaxy S8 to its offering


04 May 2017: FNB today announced that its customers can now get hold of the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus through its smart devices offering.

The devices will be available from Friday, 05 May.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus are being offered at competitive rates of R629 and R719 per month, respectively for 24 months, with zero additional fees, interest or charges payable.

Kartik Mistry, Head of Smart Devices at FNB says, "We are excited to unveil the new Samsung Galaxy S8 with innovative features as part of our smart devices portfolio. We will continue to offer customers who are unable to purchase a device outright, or those who prefer to pay it off, more value and choice by giving them the option to access the latest technology at affordable rates over a reasonable period of time."

The Samsung S8 and S8 Plus come with a 5.80-inch and 6.20-inch touch screen display respectively and a resolution of 2960 by 1440 pixels. Both smartphones run on the Android 7 (Nougat) operating system and have 64 GB of internal storage.

Users will also benefit from enhanced security through the latest Samsung Knox feature as well as the opportunity to add features such as Samsung DeX, which allows users to connect their devices to a monitor, keyboard and mouse in order to browse the web and edit documents etc.

As an added value to customers, FNB is also giving away a free convertible wireless desk top charger, valued at R1299, with each smartphone as part of the deal.

"We take pride in always being close to our customers' needs and finding innovate ways to address them, while continuing to make smart devices affordable for South Africans who previously would not have been able to purchase them," concludes Mistry.

Customers can place orders through FNB Online Banking and can expect to receive their devices within five to seven working days.

There is limited stock available.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini
Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za or
087 335 8277

The easiest way to save in currency and manage exchange rate volatility


08 May 2017: If you are planning an overseas trip at the end of the year, save in a foreign currency and secure the current exchange rate.

The FNB Global Account is an online South African domiciled foreign currency account deemed offshore and it offers you quick access to some of the world's most frequently traded currencies.

Anthony Grant, CEO of FNB Foreign Exchange, says, "When you travel overseas you will need foreign currency to meet your expenses and the amount required may fluctuate according to the level of the exchange rate. By saving in a Global Account you can start saving now in the currency of the country you are travelling to and in this way make it easier to build up enough currency to meet your travel expenses."

"This approach is practical because it cushions you against the fluctuation of the local currency by averaging the exchange rate over a period of time. This can protect you against sudden Rand weakness during the course of the year due to economic event risk."

Generally, when people travel they save money in a Rand denominated bank account; however, it's possible to put money aside in nine foreign currencies. In addition to this, travellers who have a Multi-currency Cash Passport™ can transfer funds from the Global Account and use the Cash Passport™ for making purchases and ATM withdrawals in USD, GBP, EUR, AUD while overseas.

"We note that travelers from South Africa are seeking greater global transactional ability. People work overseas, receive foreign investment income, make investments in many different markets and have families around the world. They expect to transact overseas with the same ease of transacting locally,"

"South African residents, over the age of 18 may avail an allowance of R1 million per calendar year for any legal purpose, which includes investments, without having to produce a Tax Clearance certificate. Foreign investment as a foreign capital allowance up to R10million per calendar year may also be invested offshore subject to a Tax Clearance Certificate issued by SARS," adds Grant.

"Before travelling overseas, conduct some research about the country you plan to visit and draw up an itinerary of the activities and allocate a budget against each activity. In this way you will be able to determine how much you need to save for your travel," concludes Grant.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Dumezulu Shiburi
Tel: 087 328 0990 or
Email: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za

Never stop investing because of volatility


15 May 2017: South Africa's recent downgrades by rating agencies may put off some people from continuing to invest. This should not be the case, the market goes through periods of volatility and that's never reason enough not to stay invested.

Aneesa Razack, CEO of FNB Share Investing, says "South African markets have gone through periods of volatility previously, most notably during the global financial meltdown of 2008 and the end "Dot Com Bubble" when markets dropped significantly. While the latest downgrades would be a cause for concern for local investors, this should not deter anyone from continuing to invest. Over the long term the market tends to slowly return to a growth trajectory by self-correcting. The worst any investor can do is to decide to pull out completely; nothing could be more regressive."

"While market volatility poses some risks, there are also investing opportunities that may be beneficial over the long term" she adds. To illustrate, from April 2009 to April 2017, the JSE All Share has grown by more than 160%, so if investors had pulled out their investments, they would have lost out on significant returns from the market.

Buy cheap
When the market suffers a downturn, some shares may be cheaper to buy, this not only means you can bolster your portfolio, it's also an opportunity for better growth prospects when the market recovers. Buying when the market is priced less provides an opportunity to buy into different sectors of the economy which, in essence, is a form of diversification and will allow you to spread your risk evenly.

Start investing
If you have never invested before this could be the ideal time to get started and step into the market. It may seem like to worst time to start investing but it's not, as long as you take a long term view. Remember that it's better to invest money that you won't need for at least three to five years to ensure you stay invested over the long-term; this is the only way value can be derived from investing. "Imagine someone who may have decided to invest some money back in 2008 when the market suffered the worst downturn, over the years they probably reaped some rewards as the market recovered," says Razack.

It's going to be a long ride
Whether you are a novice or experienced investor, remember that when the market turns volatile your will see your portfolio fluctuate. What is important is to avoid impulse decisions, as they can be costly. By selling when you see losses you are essentially selling cheap to the benefit of someone else. Rather hold on to your investments through the rough times.

"Investing goes hand in hand with risk, but inherent in the risk is also opportunity for wealth creation. The process of creating a sizeable investment portfolio takes time and requires some patience," adds Razack.

For more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Dumezulu Shiburi
Tel: 087 328 0990 or
Email: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za

What to do if you get instant riches


03 May 2017: After receiving a financial windfall, such as an inheritance or lottery winnings, it's important to stop and think about what you want to do with your money. "Unexpectedly receiving large amounts of money can potentially change the course of your life, only if the money is used wisely.

It's important to understand that managing a large amount of money is not easy and the first instinct for most people is to spend, especially on big ticket items such as cars, holidays or expensive jewellery. While a bit of self-indulgence is acceptable, uncontrolled spending could lead to wastage. Therefore, it is important to seek help about how you can manage your money," says Ester Ochse, Channel Head for FNB Advisory.

"A sudden bulge in your bank account from an inheritance, for example, is hard for most people to fathom. They spend before committing to any sensible financial decision such as investing the money towards education," adds Ochse.

Ochse has the following tips for anyone who has been fortunate enough to receive large sums of money:

Pay debt
Tackle your debt as soon as possible, this could be the only opportunity to live a debt free life, and be able to direct your money on building more wealth. Once your debts are out of the way, keep it that way and resist the temptation to take up debt unnecessarily.

Think twice before quitting your job
Many people are tempted to quit their jobs when they receive large amounts of money. But quitting comes with limitations because you will lose your regular income and other worthy benefits offered by your company.

Seek financial advice
A windfall can fundamentally change your financial situation. You have to take into account your estate planning, lifestyle and your investment objectives. Therefore, it is recommended that you speak to a certified financial advisor who will assist with achieving your short and long-term goals.

For individuals who are already financially stable, see it as an opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio. This is where goal-based financial advice could help you tailor a plan that will help you realise your long-term financial aspirations.

Save for emergencies
Having an emergency plan to cover your living expenses due to unforeseen circumstances is important. If you didn't have one prior to receiving a windfall, now is the good time to start. Ideally, you should have enough money to cover six months living expenses. The savings must only be accessed in the event of serious need such as a medical emergency.

"Understanding the psychology of dealing with a lot of money can help you take the right steps to protect your money. Every financial decision must be carefully considered to avoid being in a compromising situation in future," concludes Ochse.

or more information contact:
FNB Corporate Communications
Dumezulu Shiburi
Tel: 087 328 0990 or
Email: dumi.shiburi@fnb.co.za

Is your life insurance enough to cover your family?


22 May 2017 - Many people that take out a life policy base the sum insured (maximum amount paid out for claims) on the amount of money that will be required to protect their dependants financially should they pass away.

"As your financial circumstances change, it becomes essential to review the sum insured as it may no longer be sufficient to cover the needs of your family or dependants," says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB Life.

"There are common situations that may lead people to update the amount of cover they are insured for," explains Bromfield:

  • Buying a new house - when taking out a home loan your financial institution may require that you have life insurance in place to cover the debt in the event that you pass away. Depending on the loan amount a portion of your life cover will be ceded against the home loan, leaving your dependants underinsured and out of pocket.
  • Children - one of the common reasons why people take out life insurance is to protect the financial future of their children. When you have a new child or the number of your dependants increases, it is important to ensure that your life insurance is adjusted to accommodate the changes.
  • Getting a higher paying job - if your financial situation improves, you should update your life cover amount accordingly to ensure your dependants maintain the same lifestyle should you pass away. For example, you could have moved into an affluent suburb and decided to take your kids to a high end private school.
  • Marriage - getting married and starting a family is a commitment that comes with a number of financial responsibilities. Updating your policy cover and including your partner as a beneficiary becomes essential, especially when you are married in community of property.
  • Health - if your health condition changes, you may have to consider updating your life cover amount, based on your age and individual circumstances. Furthermore, depending on the nature and severity of the illness you may have to claim from your insurer anyway. This would also give you an opportunity to review your policy and the sum insured.

"If you are unsure of the amount of life cover you need or whether it's the right time to update your policy, it is advisable to speak to your bank or financial services provider for guidance," concludes Bromfield.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Money mistakes wealthy people should avoid in marriage


30 May 2017 - High-net worth individuals who have made a commitment to marry their life partners should not overlook the importance of mutual understanding, trust, open and honest communication to grow and preserve their wealth.

Eric Enslin, CEO of FNB Private Wealth and RMB Private Bank, says "One of the attributes of successful wealth management is working together as a family towards a common goal. As a result, both partners should be intimately involved in their wealth journey in order to build a family focused wealth legacy that can be transferred to the next generation."

Having advised many families about wealth building, Enslin has noted a few common mistakes that high-net worth couples make.

  • Not consolidating wealth advisory - working with the same advisor who provides tailored services for the entire family has many advantages. Couples can save on advisory fees, consolidate financial commitments such as investments and bank accounts as well as benefit from wealth management advice that takes both their goals and aspirations into account.
  • Neglecting estate planning - a fundamental mistake that high-net worth couples make is taking estate planning for granted, leaving them vulnerable in the unfortunate event that one partner passes away. This poses a serious threat to the family's wealth if there isn't an updated will in place that provides certainty on issues related to debt, trust structure, personal and business assets.
  • Lack of transparency - it is often said that communication is one of the building blocks of a successful marriage; the same principle applies to wealth management. Couples should openly talk about money management issues and reach mutual understanding on investments, tax strategies, business decisions and challenges, as well as long-term wealth strategies.
  • Not sharing responsibilities - entrusting one partner to manage the entire family's financial affairs is a mistake that can lead to long-term ramifications. Both partners should be actively involved to be in a good position to pass on knowledge to their heirs.
  • Poor prenuptial agreement - an agreement should be reached upfront on how assets and income acquired prior to the marriage should be distributed in the event of a divorce. Failure to enter into a comprehensive prenuptial agreement can lead to a lengthy and costly legal battle.

"Growing and preserving wealth requires both partners to actively work together to hone and develop family values in order to build a lasting legacy. Moreover, getting the right wealth management advice that takes into account the whole family's needs is equally important," concludes Enslin.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Factors to consider when buying a second house


06 June 2017: Whether you are planning to buy a second house to generate passive income or looking for bigger space for your growing family, there are a few factors to consider to avoid turning your good intentions into a costly setback.

Tommy Nel, Head of Credit at FNB Home Loans, says owning a property or two could be a good step to start building wealth for households; however consumers who are taking this important financial decision should place emphasis on doing proper research to ensure they know what they are getting themselves into.

There are three common scenarios that second time home buyers often find themselves in; you are planning to buy on the condition that you first sell your existing house; you still owe your current bond and require a further loan or your bond is paid up and you are applying for a new home loan.

Nel unpacks some of the important factors that second time home buyers should consider:

Taking out a further loan - two home loans

When buying a second home, banks will perform a new credit and affordability assessment that meets the requirements of the National Credit Act (NCA). This will be based on your credit track record, household budget and ability to afford the minimum monthly repayments.

Managing your own household expenses and property related expenses on a second property, whilst repaying two loans may potentially leave you overextended, increasing the likelihood of not being able to keep up with your financial commitments as they fall due.

It is therefore important to know what you are letting yourself in for and perform the appropriate research in this regard:

  • Factor in costs such as insurance, municipal rates and taxes, levies, property maintenance and repairs.
  • Managing agents typically charge anything between 8-10% for managing a property.
  • It could be risky to assume you will have 100% occupation on a continuous basis.
  • The rental price needs to be competitive with other properties in the area. You cannot simply just take your bond installment, add other costs and expect to let your property for that amount. The market often dictates what you can charge.

Conditional offer, subject to the sale of your existing property

This clause stipulates that a purchaser who makes an offer on a house must be given enough time to first sell their existing home.

"However, in tough economic times many sellers are not willing to give up their option to accept offers from other buyers by waiting for one individual to first sell their home," says Nel.

Moreover, there's no guarantee that you will sell your home for its current market value. This could result in selling your property for less than its market value, unless you are patient and don't get carried away with your desire not to lose the property you are trying to acquire.

Paying up the first bond

This may not be a good idea from a tax perspective as you would be unlikely to claim your interest deductions against rental income. Instead, it could be more beneficial to use some of the equity in your primary residence to get the best possible rate on your investment property by putting down a sizable deposit.

"There are many reasons that may lead you to consider buying a second house, such as moving to a safer neighborhood, closer to work and good schools for your kids. Depending on your individual circumstances and affordability level, there are a range of home loan solutions that banks can offer you as a second time home buyer. It is therefore essential to seek expert advice and choose a financing solution that best suits your needs," concludes Nel.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Don't overlook the benefits of checking your bank statement


23 May 2017 : Consumers who only focus on what is coming and going out of their accounts are missing out of the benefits of the financial data available in their bank statements.

"Bank statements are not just a great way of keeping a record of all your transactions every month, this is also the perfect starting point when planning a financially stable future," says Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB Value Banking Solutions.

He unpacks four benefits of keeping tabs on your bank statement:

Keep on top of your budget

"If you have no idea of what is coming in or out of your bank account, there is no way you are able to budget effectively. In fact, your bank statement is the perfect place to start budgeting, if you don't have one in place, or aren't the best at keeping on top of it," says Prozesky.

Highlight unnecessary spending

By going through your bank statements line by line you will soon see the small charges that may be completely unnecessary.

"This can be in the form of an old policy you have no use for or a subscription," says Prozesky. "The quicker you get on top of this, the sooner you will be able to start saving, you will be surprised how these small items add up quickly."

Unnecessary spending doesn't have to be only small items. Sometimes it is a few hundred rand or even more.

"Looking back at your bank statement, you have to be honest with yourself about which of the larger purchases, such as electronics or purchases at clothing stores, you really make use of," says Prozesky.

"Cutting down on big spending can put you in a far stronger position financially to build up your savings or put the money to real work."

Understanding bank fees

This is a good opportunity to also get to grips with any banking fees that you may not understand.

"You will soon note avoidable high fee transactions such as drawing cash or making transactions in branch," says Prozesky. "Once you are aware of these line items you can substitute them for low or no costs transactions, such as swiping your debit card instead of withdrawing or using electronic transactions."

Keeping you honest

Make a date with your bank statement every month and your finances will soon fall into place.

Recently FNB also made statement functionality available on the FNB App, allowing customers to search statements, select their own "Start" and "End" date and enter email addresses for statements to be delivered to. Customers can also print their statements at over 900 ATMs with deposit devices.

"It is fairly easy to bury your head in the sand when it comes to finances, however since the bank is required to record every single cent in your bank statement, it is very difficult to hide away from the reality of your finances. Consider signing up for email statements, which don't attract a charge," concludes Prozesky.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Tips to help you prevent card fraud


05 June 2017 : Card payments are a safe and convenient way to pay for goods and services, however, consumers must still be vigilant when using or managing their bank cards in order to protect themselves against fraudsters.

Chris Labuschagne, CEO of FNB Credit Card says, "Bank cards have many security features which are designed to minimise fraud while improving convenience, but card safety is a two way street that requires consumers to exercise caution to avoid falling victim to fraudulent activities."

Labuschagne recommends the following protective measures against card fraud:

Take note of card safety measures recommended by your bank

There is a lot of misinformation about how people can prevent card fraud but it is always best to follow your bank's recommendations on card safety, in addition to conventional ways of safekeeping your valuables.

"Do not listen to anyone who suggests using reckless measures that could damage the quality and functionality of your card. Bank cards are designed to perform specific tasks and contain a lot of security detail which may not be visible to the naked eye, therefore tempering with it could cause irreparable damage," says Labuschagne.

Do not keep your card together with your PIN

This is one of the golden rules of card safety but it is often ignored, because people cannot anticipate losing their bag or wallet which tends to store such valuables. Rather be safe than sorry and memorise your PIN instead of writing it on a piece of paper or saving it on your phone. FNB offers a View Pin Facility on our banking app so you can easily and securely view your pin.

Immediately report stolen and/or lost cards

According to SABRIC, lost and/or stolen cards accounted for 56.2% of card fraud losses during 2016.

Labuschagne says while this may be due to a number of reasons, it is yet another reminder that people need to immediately report lost or stolen cards to prevent any losses. He says FNB customers can immediately cancel their cards using the bank's App, phone the contact centre or visit their nearest branches.

Take advantage of contactless payments

The introduction of new payment technologies such as contactless payments give consumers far more control over their bank cards, meaning you don't have to part ways with your card when making payments at merchants that accept contactless payments.

Labuschagne says all you have to do is to look out for the contactless sign and simply tap without handing over your card. Not only is this quicker but it also gives the cardholder peace of mind.

"At FNB, we are currently issuing 100% contactless cards for new customers as well as existing customers who may need a replacement card. We're seeing a growing number of customers who prefer to use contactless payments in line with international trends."

Be vigilant when purchasing online

When buying goods and services online, it is important to ensure that you are dealing with a reputable service provider before sharing your card details. Do not simply click on the first link you come across, rather type the web address of the service provider you intend to use.

"Card payments offer a lot of benefits for consumers and far outweigh the risk and expenses associated with handling cash. Over the years, we have seen a sustainable rise in the number of consumers who prefer to use their bank cards to pay for goods and services. However, the need to prioritise safety should not be neglected," concludes Labuschagne.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

Current challenges faced by new franchisees


06 June 2017 : As the South African economy continues to navigate economic challenges; the knock-on effect on consumers is one of the main issues keeping new franchisees awake at night.

Morne Cronje, Head of Franchising at FNB Business says "despite the resilience of the franchising sector which contributes almost 12% to South Africa's GDP; and generated a projected R493-billion turnover in 2016; new franchisees are cautiously observing the economic headwinds and their anticipated impact on profit margins."

Cronje shares some key challenges faced by new franchisees:

Managing cash flow : The slowdown on the economy is making it very challenging for new franchisees to remain profitable - this means they need to adapt to this tough economic climate by managing their cash flow efficiently, because it plays a critical part on the health of a business. Furthermore, they also need to build a closer relationship with their financial institutions; this will improve their working capital and also carry themthrough the tough economic times.

Electricity costs : Prioritise and invest in electricity efficient products and machinery early on in the businesses; this will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

The rising cost of rental space : Always keep in mind that rental costs go up on a yearly basis, when doing budgets factor in the probabilities that the rent will increase.

Staff costs : Having less money coming into a business simply means little profit margins which implies keeping fewer employees in the business to sustain it. Hire fewer employees in tough times and increase your staff compliment as the business grows and economy improves.

Not having suitable skills - New franchisees often get anxious that they don't have the necessary skills to operate the business successfully. They can eradicate this anxiety by looking for mentorship and guidance from an experienced franchisee.

"Given the unpredictability of the current economic climate, the sector still has room to grow despite the shrinking of disposable income for many consumers. Franchising has a wide range of supporting structures that can be used by new franchisees. Use these structures effectively and there will be no need to stay awake at night," concludes Morne.

FNB unveils FNBy and FNB Fusion Premier Accounts


2017/18 account pricing changes announced

FNB continues to deliver on its promise to offer customers better banking value and convenience through the launch of its 'FNBy' youth offering and 'FNB Fusion' Premier Account which combines a transactional account and credit facility with a linked credit card.

These new offerings come into effect on 1 July 2017 simultaneously with the bank's annual account pricing changes.

CEO of FNB Premium and Business Core Banking, Yashen Singh, says "Our latest packages provide simplicity, convenience and increased value for money while encouraging the use of our efficient electronic and digital banking platforms that help customers take full control of their accounts and earn eBucks rewards. The new offerings and current fee structures are consistent with the unique and ever changing needs of our customers."

Younger customers below the age of 18 now have access to a fully transactional account, with no monthly fee, that can be used for their daily banking and savings needs. Youngsters from the ages of 18 to 25 years will pay R10 per month with free access to inContact, online and cellphone banking through the FNBy account.

FNB Fusion Premier which attracts a monthly fee of R199 per month will enable customers to manage all their transactions and maximise rewards with only one card, which combines the best of what a fully transactional account, overdraft facility and credit card can offer. FNB Fusion not only offers convenience, but peace of mind when it comes to managing a bank account. For example, customers will be able to use their salaries or incomes to repay the outstanding balance on their accounts, thereby avoiding the risk of revolving their credit card balances.

FNB's Premier and Private Clients Bundle Monthly Account fees remain unchanged at R199 and R365 respectively, with customers continuing to benefit from a single discounted fee for a portfolio of products which includes their Cheque Account, Credit Card, Savings Account and Global Account.

Private Clients and Wealth customers on the Bundled Pricing Option will have access to the share trading platform and also benefit from the Money Market Maximiser which offers competitive interest rates.

"In reviewing our customer's needs, we have set out to create enhanced banking accounts across a range of fee structures from the entry Easy accounts to our Gold Cheque Account. We are further encouraging customers to select banking accounts that offer them the best value and range of services for their needs," says Ryan Prozesky, CEO of FNB Value Banking Solutions.

The account fee for the FNB Easy Pay-as-you-use (PAYU) Account which has remained unchanged since July 2014 now increases by 6% to R5.25 per month, the FNB Easy Bundle Account which has remained unchanged since July 2012 now increases by 8% to R53 per month, while the mid-level FNB Gold Account fee which has also remained unchanged since July 2014 increases by 5% to R105 per month.

"Retail banking has become increasingly competitive and when reviewing our competitors in detail, we see that a race to the lowest price-point ends up costing the consumer more as many additional services are required," adds Prozesky.

FNB's entry level Easy PAYU (Pay As You Use) account will have additional fees for services such as inContact (FNB's transaction notification service) via SMS at 40c per SMS, Cash@Till (cash withdrawn at till-point) at R1.40. However, customers can still receive free inContact notifications via the FNB Banking App.

Customers on Easy PAYU still enjoy free card swipes, free linked account transfers and scheduled transfers, internal debit orders, free subscription to FNB's electronic channels, free statements and balance enquiries via FNB Cellphone banking, free FNB Connect pre-paid purchases, as well as Shoprite and Checkers coupons on the FNB Banking App. Customers with modest transaction requirements will continue to find that FNB's PAYU at R5.25 per month offers a cost efficient way to bank and gain access to FNB's banking infrastructure.

The Easy Bundle account at R53 per month now offers a combination of free FNB ATM/Slimline, Cash@Till and cardless cash withdrawals to the value of R3000 per month, which would have cost over R55 on Easy PAYU. This means customers can choose any of these channels to withdraw their monthly cash requirements without paying fees up to the free limit of R3000 monthly.

"Many of our customers understand their cash needs as opposed to requiring a fixed number of ATM transactions per month. Moreover, money is safer in their bank accounts and can be accessed at their convenience, instead of the risk of withdrawing and carrying larger amounts once per week," adds Prozesky.

Customers on the Easy Bundle also receive free cash deposits up to the value of R3000 per month at any FNB ATM with cash deposits, which would have cost R27 on Easy PAYU. 10 free electronic transactions including debit orders, account payments and transfers are included in the monthly fee along with free inContact notifications.

For many customers the additional value offered by the Easy Bundle account makes this a lower cost and higher value bank account than a PAYU account where additional services are charged per transaction.

"Our Gold Cheque Account offers a broad range of inclusive services and exceeds the features offered by many of our competitors. The Gold Cheque Account offers unlimited electronic transactions including prepaid purchases, account payments and transfers, debit orders and free inContact notifications. Customers are able to withdraw up to R5000 per month free of charge via any FNB ATM, Slimline, cardless cash services as well as at tillpoint (Cash@Till). Customers also receive free cash deposits up to the value of R5000 per month at any FNB ATM with cash deposits. FNB continues to offer free subscriptions to eBucks rewards, FNB's leading rewards programme.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277

How to trim down SME running costs


19 June 2017 : Operating costs associated with running a business may be challenging to deal with due to the current economic woes. SME's need to develop long term strategies to ensure they can stretch each rand whilst saving where they can.

"The state of the economy is not great, consumers are hard pressed and businesses are feeling the impact with less spend going around. SME's in particular, have to be smart about how they manage the flow of their income and expenses. Businesses can achieve this by reducing on their spend and finding new and innovative ways to execute on tasks without breaking the bank" says Mags Ponnan, Head of the Business Incubator and Customer Value Propositions at FNB Business.

Ponnan shares a few guidelines on saving tips for SME's:

Start with a wastage audit - Many businesses do not have a full view of their total expenditure. A basic wastage audit will assist in pointing out how much a business spends across the board. It is important for the entrepreneur to track the speed at which his costs will grow in relation to his business turnover and ensure that it stays within an acceptable margin. Common areas where a business is bound to save money is with the likes of stationary, cost of water and lights, cost of conference calling and travelling to meetings and telephone costs. Decreasing these costs can result in significant savings for the SME.

Review business insurance - ensure sufficient cover at the right cost for the business by shopping round and ensuring that you review your insurance annually to make certain that you are sufficiently covered at an affordable levy.

Digitize - taking services online reduces costs as it reduces the amount of people required to complete the task. With the rise of the internet, businesses now have a plethora of options that are easily accessible at an affordable price to the business, thereby assisting in bringing down the businesses' running costs and gaining greater footprint by providing easier access to entrepreneurs across a wider geographical area.

Employ professionals - employing professionals ensures that tasks are completed on time and are done efficiently. Quite often, business owners hire people that are good at many things with the flawed thinking that they are reducing costs, when in fact; the cost of adjusting mistakes and reviewing work from a staff complement that isn't skilled may be more expensive. If you cannot afford to pay the salary of highly skilled professionals, many businesses also offer company shares to the employees to incentivise them for the lower salaries paid

Talk to your business banker - In most cases, businesses have a range of products that can assist a business save money or bank at preferential interest rates. Banks also understand that businesses are feeling the strain in the current economic environment.

Take advantage of tax benefits - Educate yourself on the tax landscape of South Africa since the government has made the empowerment of SME's core to their planning; there are many tax benefits for SME's at various levels of annual revenues scales.

"Business in the coming months will not be smooth sailing. Ensure that you talk to your banker about what products they may have that will better enable you to save money, invest or simply improve your business's cash flow. Effectively, a focus on running a lean and effective business is a great way of ensuring you keep your business afloat this year," concludes Ponnan.

Postcards from NAMPO 2017


An outlook on the agricultural sector

12 June 2017 : NAMPO is the biggest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere. It attracts major players and decision makers into one proverbial room, to engage on the health of the agricultural sector in South Africa - this year; NAMPO came at a time when the industry is posed for record harvests.

"The sector is on course for recovery after the devastating 2015/16 production season, however, the Western Cape (WC) and parts of the Eastern Cape (EC) are exceptions as conditions there have deteriorated with water levels in dams falling way below 20% full. Despite this, NAMPO provided some key insights into the sector" says Paul Makube, Senior Agricultural Economist for FNB Business.

Makube provides an outlook of the sector post NAMPO

Positive growth in harvest - According to the recent Crop Estimate Committee (CEC) report, South Africa's potential harvest of grain and oilseed crops for 2016/17 jumped 7% from the previous month to 18.03 million tons in May 2017. The maize crop has been revised higher by 7.54% from last month to a record 15.63 million tons. The rebound in maize production will help reduce pressure in the livestock industries such as poultry, pork and feedlots where it constitutes almost 70% of the feed.

Maize prices stabilize - Maize prices have responded to this improved supply dynamics and weakened, they are currently trending below the R2, 000/t level for both white and yellow maize. Both the yellow and white maize prices have edged below export parity, around R1, 800/t and R1, 900/t respectively.

Positive knock on effect on animal feed - In the case of oilseeds, both the sunflower and soybean crops are expected to be up on last year at 853,470 tons and 1.23 million tons respectively. These two crops are used as plant protein sources in animal feed in the form of soymeal and sunflower meal. Further processing for consumer products such as sunflower oil, soybean oil, etc. will improve availability and subsequently lower prices.

Pressures on wheat market - Poor production conditions affected planting in the Western Cape; however, the short term rainfall outlook has improved with heavy rains expected this week. The Free State and North West will however offset the potential loss in production because, apart from the Western Cape, the water table and dam levels have improved significantly this season.

Growth in livestock - The livestock market remains on an upward trajectory with gains across the board due to tight supply as a result of herd rebuilding in the case of beef and sheep. The meat-to-maize ratios have improved significantly in the past few months because of the combination of higher meat and lower maize prices, an indication of improved profitability for feedlots, poultry and pork production systems. "The strong rebound in agricultural output bodes well for inflation going forward and consumers will breathe a sigh of relief as most grain and horticulture products and byproducts should decline in price. This should assist the SARB to keep interest rates on hold for a bit longer" concludes Makube.

Do you really get what you need from your bank?


29 May 2017 - Do you really get what you need from your bank? This is the critical question that every South African who holds a bank account should attempt to answer in order to determine whether they get the best value from their bank, says Firoze Bhorat, Head of FNB Retail Marketing.

"Banking is an important part of our daily lives and one of the key enablers to financial stability. Therefore, it's vital to choose a banking partner that gives you maximum value and more importantly, you should make a distinction between what you get and what you need from a bank," he says.

Digital technology continues to redefine how financial services institutions interact and cater for the daily banking needs of their customers in an easy, efficient and convenient way. Whether it's earning meaningful rewards, banking securely on the best banking App, increasing your credit card limit, instantly reporting fraud and cancelling a stolen card, buying your first property or simply getting an individualised interest rate, consumers want services that address their needs, at their fingertips.

Over the years, Retail banking has increasingly become highly competitive and as the cost of living in South Africa continues to creep higher, some consumers may be tempted to simply go for the cheapest option. However, Bhorat cautions against making banking decisions on price alone, as this could have unintended consequences for your pocket.

"In some cases, you might find that while the account fee seems cheaper, other individual transactional fees start taking their toll on your budget. This is one of the primary reasons we encourage customers to consider a bundle offering which allows them a number of free benefits with complete transparency on account fees," he adds.

To ensure that you switch to a bank that gives you value aligned to your needs, you first have to define what you want and then review whether your current bank meets your needs. It's important to choose a bank that enables your lifestyle, with adequate tools to manage your money.

You also have to look at whether their value added services such as rewards offer any real value at all. If they fall short on your expectations, you may want to consider switching because compromising on value could have serious limitations for your financial future.

"As a trusted money manager, FNB understands that customers want more than just a bank account and we take it upon ourselves to give expert advice on lifelong financial decisions - whether it's investing, insurance or estate planning, we want to help customers shape their financial legacy," says Bhorat.

While most people do think of switching banks when they don't get such services, there's also a perception that moving from one bank to another can be a rigorous and costly exercise, especially if you have debit orders coming off your bank account. "The main consideration is whether you want to settle for value-less banking or switch to a bank that will give you maximum value. At FNB, we have made the process of helping customers switch their bank accounts to us a lot easier. We have a dedicated team that helps you move your account and all your debit orders, and we have found that helping customers through this process takes away the angst associated with switching banks," concludes Bhorat.

For more information contact:

FNB Corporate Communications
Senzi Dlamini: Senzi.Dlamini@fnb.co.za
or 087 335 8277