FNB’s holistic help aims to minimise impact of pandemic on its customers
The bank’s efforts attest to its resilient and nimble business, says Jacques Celliers
In 2020, FNB rolled out financial and nonfinancial support to minimise the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on customers and vulnerable communities.
The bank offered digital platform-based cash flow relief to individuals and business customers, covering 700,000 agreements with loan balances of more than R100bn. FNB Life assisted with R300m worth of Credit Life claims for customers who were retrenched. FNB waived R120m in Saswitch and Merchant services fees.
The group’s commitment to early invoice settlements for suppliers has benefited more than 6,048 businesses, including SMEs, with invoices worth about R19.8bn. FNB customers and employees made monetary and eBucks donations for the National Solidarity Fund, generating R1.7m in contributions.
To alleviate the plight of vulnerable communities, FNB galvanised support for early childhood centres (ECDs) to ensure children and families continued to receive food. The bank’s staff volunteers raised funds for 7,000 food buckets and parcels to feed ECD families for a month countrywide. Once the lockdown restrictions were relaxed, FNB assisted 480 ECDs reopen in line with health and safety regulations.
FNB CEO Jacques Celliers says: “This pandemic has been an extraordinary test of character for customers, businesses and society. Despite the challenges, I’m proud of the resilience and commitment we continue to witness in our business. Our front-line staff has ensured that our points of presence remain available with branches open, contact centres and cash centres operating, and ATMs replenished.
“Our IT teams built Covid-19 cash flow relief capability on our digital platform in record time while ensuring that digital channels, such as our FNB app which is zero-rated on large networks, remains accessible. Our insurance teams increased capacity significantly to process claims, and still put in extra hours. All these efforts attest to our resilient and nimble business, which continues to service all areas of our society.”
FNB’s efforts also extended to helping the elderly, with 12,000 hygiene and protective personal equipment buckets delivered around the country. The bank participated in “maskathons” in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape, collecting about 180,000 masks, which benefited social grant recipients at its branches.
FNB is also part of FirstRand’s R100m Spire initiative, funded by the group’s foundations, FNB and RMB. Spire-funded projects include 100 additional ICU beds across public hospitals, protective equipment and test kits for hospitals, food parcels for vulnerable communities, and 150 care homes.
“While increased economic activity is expected this year as vaccination programmes gain momentum, we are preparing for continued lockdowns due to the expected third wave. Despite some positive signs, a more robust economic rebound will require a collective effort anchored on partnership, agility, mutual support and shared goals,” says Celliers.
“We appreciate that our role in society is more than running a successful business and creating employment. As a result, our efforts are always geared to alleviating strain across several spheres of our society through financial and nonfinancial means. We are aware of the need to work with industry partners, government, civil society and communities to minimise hardship. The arrival of a vaccine will hopefully restore health and safety, and accelerate efforts to boost our economic activity.”
For more information, visit the FNB website.
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