Kathy Gibson reports – FNB is shifting from a bimodal model of digital innovation to a massive platform-based journey.
CEO Jacques Celliers explains that, until now, technology innovation has been centred round digitising manual processes – but this has resulted in two technology centres.
“We are going from a digital innovative journey to a platform disruptive journey,” he says. “Our centre of gravity has moved from what was old and new to platform-based activities.”
The FNB App is becoming the de facto platform upon which the bank is layering integration and customer services.
New technologies combined with the massive amounts of data generated means that the bank is able to do so much more, he adds.
A consequence of these platform-type worlds is the ability to engage in trade, he adds. “There is not an industry we are not integrated with.”
This means FNB could leverage its relationship with customers, and the digitisation of transactions, to enable transactions not typically associated with a banking partner.
“We also want to be a partner in life, Celliers says. “We all ned help in managing money,” he adds. “We all make mistakes, run out of money, and have emotion with money.”
FNB is able to bring technology to bear to assist customers when they need it, he says.
“We want to be a trusted partner to society; we want to help create a better world.
“With the platform, ultimately we are trying to package everything we do into a better contextual understanding of the customers.
“That contextual layer s important; the innovation is important; and the solutions are important,” Celliers says. “When there is an event in a customer’s life, these solutions need to come together.
“And this can only be enabled if you have a proper contextual data platform.”
The platform encompasses both business and personal customers, says Mike Vacy, CEO of FNB Business.
“It’s easy to sit in the business segment and design solutions you think the customers want. But the reality is that most of our staff don’t know how to run a business.
“Banks have tended to build a great consumer banks, but the business banking side of them don’t really understand these customers.”
To do this, the bank has undertaken a lot of research to determine business needs, and has concluded that this seamless integration between business and personal banking is key.
Know your Customer (KYC) is a good example of this, adds Celliers. “This is the same information, so we shouldn’t have to ask the customer for it twice.”
“We are talking about meaningful integration, and making a difference. A big part of our planning has been to ensure a convergence between the personal and business experience.”
Raj Makanjee,CEO of FNB Retail, adds that convergence is real. “About 1-million of our customers already have some sort of business,” he points out.
“So we need to help them manage their personal affairs as well as the overlap with business.”
This is especially important in the South African context, where there is an increasing number of entrepreneurs.
Among the new innovations are the Switch with a Selfie feature – the ability to open a new account on the FNB App, with a selfie acting as identification.
The bank has had integration into Home Affairs since 2011, and this extends that relationship.
New customers can also order their card, which will be delivered to their door – which is determined by geolocation.
In the near future, the bank will be able to issue a vertical card as well, so customers won’t have to wait for the physical card.
“Anyone can download the app now,” says Makanjee. “To start with, its limited to South African citizens; but it takes away the need for proof of address and the need to produce an ID document.”
Once signed up, services can be identified and offered based on the customers’ usage and behaviours. In fact, these services are available to all customers, Vacy adds.
Other new features set for launch in the app this year are an FNB Pay QR code for business and retail; wearable payments; customisation and personalisation; the ability to fund now; virtual debit and credit cards; and enhanced fraud management.