Picture: Bloomberg
JOHANNESBURG - First National Bank (FNB) have posted strong results as profits showed an increase of 11% along with customer numbers breaching 7.8 million.

FNB said in a statement that profits from retail business surged 21%, while the bank’s commercial business units produced profit growth of 13%.

The bank’s retail businesses experienced excellent contributions from its client franchises; credit card, residential mortgages and the transaction franchise all showing strong double digit growth. Credit card earnings were buoyed by a 20% increase in advances in the upper end of Retail (Premium) whilst bad debts remain well-contained across the book.

Performance in residential mortgages was a story of improved margins, excellent collections performance and cost-containment. The core transactional business which services Consumer and Premium segments both produced strong results, benefitting from transaction volume and active customer base growth.

Jacques Celliers, FNB CEO said, “The excellent results reflect the strong momentum we’ve created over the last few years. Our cross-sell and upsell strategy was supported by very strong new-to-bank sales performance across all key channels. The technology and data driven platform evolution amongst others has seen significant adoption by our customers, particularly the FNB App that experienced continued growth and increased customer usage. We are particularly pleased about the number of visitors who are experimenting with new functionality on the platform."

 “The 11% growth in profitability shows an all-round strong team performance. Deposit growth and strong contribution from our market leading transactional franchise underpinned an excellent domestic performance. The contribution from our African subsidiaries improved from the prior period,” Celliers continued.

Our client-centric approach is delivering results and we have been recognized for our market leading position in key Business and Premium banking areas. The focus on customer needs continues to see improvement in client product take-up, which talks to our main bank strategy and our commitment to offer a full service offering to clients,” Celliers said.

FNB said that the digital strategy has seen sharp increases in APP registration and usage showing:
  • APP usage up 66%
  • Financial transaction volumes up 10%
  • Active clients on Connect now over 600 000
Insurance activities have also seen excellent growth with the policy numbers now well over 3 million. Key policy information is now also available via the APP, with simple Life Assurance being executable across digital platforms.

FNB’s investment pillar is being rejuvenated with product and service offerings being enhanced. The bank is focussing on goal-based advice. Significant investment in systems (Robo Advice) and client-facing channels is expected to contribute substantially to revenues in the future.

Celliers further said, “We are grateful to our clients for their loyalty and the enthusiasm with which customers use our new services and digital banking channels.  I am humbled by the effort of FNB staff who have remained deeply committed and innovative in a challenging operating environment."

“The FNB strategy of cross-sell and upsell built around sweet spot clients continues, as does the ambition to enhance earnings through building our FNB Insurance and Investment offerings.