FNB now eyes financial and physical health

In 2016, five years after FNB launched South Africa’s first banking app, it introduced a functionality aimed at helping its customers ‘navigate’ life. The nav>> was first launched with nav>> Home, allowing customers to buy and sell property hassle-free (without the use of estate agents), and nav>> Car, which similarly enables customers to buy and sell cars to other customers and even renew their car licence discs online.

The two became the pillars of nav>> because “we know that customers on a monthly basis typically spend in excess of 15% of their monthly income on their home and on their car/transport,” says Jolandé Duvenhage, CEO of nav>>. “This is a very significant number and the more we can help our customers on their journey, the more we can empower them to navigate their lives.”

Sticking to their innovative and pioneering guns, FNB started looking at the various things happening in the market, and a couple of key things stood out. Firstly, that FNB clients spend R30bn on health annually, says Lee Bromfield, CEO of FNB life insurance, whose division is now intertwined with the newly added nav>> Wellness functionality.

When the bank launched the life insurance company about four years ago, it focused on how it could get banking customers to be healthier (which would be a good outcome profit-wise). The new nav>> Wellness platform on the app is about getting people to understand their wellness better. “So many of our customers don’t know where they sit or compare with the rest of the nation,” says Bromfield. 

Duvenhage says a good starting point with any wellness journey is to take stock, “which I don’t particularly like. For instance, having to get on a scale or go for a check-up. We are quite practical in this regard.” The customer fills in a questionnaire to get insights into their wellness score before setting goals to improve it. To boost health with the wellness score (whether fitness or nutrition status), the bank will help coach customers with tips and recommended activities to reach their goals.

FNB has negotiated discounts with a number of health and wellness partners, securing savings of 35% on diet, health and sport genetic testing at DNAlysis. These genetic testing laboratories have a personalised medical approach to healthcare that is more precise, predictable and preventative.

“We made it practical in terms of advice. We don’t try to get you to bounce from the couch and into the gym – no customer is ever going to do that … We don’t say that you should go get fit in the gym. If bouncing around at Bounce is your thing, then you could go there and do that (with a 25% discount from the bank),” says Duvenhage.

Another feature allows customers to order prescription medicine from their nearest Dis-Chem using the FNB app. By taking a photo of the prescription on the app, you can select medication for you and your family and receive a notification when it’s ready for collection, within two hours.

To access nav>>, customers log into the application using their banking and/or personal details. The digital paper trail will reflect against a person’s name, thereby leaving little room for people to get ‘creative’ with medical scripts.  

Asked if FNB was, perhaps, taking on Discovery – particularly on wellness – Raj Makanjee, CEO of retail banking, touched on FirstRand’s strategy as shared by CEO Alan Pullinger at the last investor presentation: “we [FirstRand] see ourselves as an integrated, client-centric financial services provider.

“By implication we don’t see ourselves as a bank for just transacting. We want to see ourselves as being the provider of services for clients both in the investment and protection needs across various categories, from life to short-term insurance,” says Makanjee.

“So yes, Discovery is a competitor — just as it is a new competitor in banking. If you look at all the insurers out there, such as Old Mutual and Sanlam — they are all also talking banking.”

Nav>> Money

FNB also tweaked it’s nav>> Money functionality. The bank describes this as a financial GPS to improve financial fitness. It now allows users to set savings goals and facilitates the saving process.

“Behind the scenes, we have a product selection tool on what is the most suitable pairing or product for helping the customer reach the set saving goal,” says Himal Parbhoo, CEO of FNB cash investments. One such product is a Money Maximiser savings account that offers a 7.15% interest rate.

“You come into nav>>, set the goal, set the deadline and how much you need to save, then it gets backed by the right product. Along the journey you will be shown how far off you are. We give you practical tips every now and then on how to stay on track.”

Customers can also set a day of the month on which money can automatically be deducted from their account and diverted towards a particular savings goal, such as a holiday, education or a new car deposit — customers can set up to about 50 saving goals.

This article originally appeared in the 25 July edition of finweek. Buy and download the magazine here or subscribe to our newsletter here.

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