File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - One of South Africa’s ‘’big four’’ banks, First National Bank (FNB) has been named Africa’s leading bank in The Banker’s Top 500 Banking Brands Report 2018. 

The leading bank ranked 141st in the global banking table, with a brand valuation of R16.7 billion and grew its brand value by 23% in the past year. 

“We are elated with winning this title because it confirms our status as a trusted money manager. We are commitment to building a helpful brand which delivers customer centric solutions to both individual and business customers”, said  FNB Chief Marketing Officer, Faye Mfikwe. 

The title sees FNB standing at the top of other large banks in South Africa. 

When asked what they did differently during the fiscal year to achieve the title, Mfikwe said that the bank positioned themselves as customer-centric while placing a significant importance on “helping” customers. 

“FNB launched a very successful brand positioning campaign in 2017, redefining how we view ‘Help’ in the current South African and African context. The campaign was highly rated and positively received in the market, generating good conversation. Furthermore, ongoing innovative and customer-centric solutions that touch on our customer needs and wants continue to influence brand perception. In 2017, we also announced our sponsorship of the Springbok, which was the perfect culmination our commitment to helping unearth SA’s young rugby talent”, said Mfikwe. 

Mfikwe added that FNB has build its brand on foundations of “helpfulness and innovation”. 

He says that FNB is committed to investing themselves in the customer’s needs and understanding their circumstance. 

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On new entrants in the banking domain such as former FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan’s recently launched Bank Zero, Mfikwe said that increased competition within the banking sector is a good thing for customers. 

Accounting for Bank Zero’s technological approach, Mfikwe says that FNB is also key players in the fintech space. 

“We will continue to invest and drive innovation in this area, while acknowledging that traditional banking channels will still be important to certain segments of the market in the foreseeable future. There is no doubt however that digital banking will play a considerable and ever increasing role in the sector”, concluded Mfikwe. 

Meanwhile, FNB has proven their commitment to the Small and Medium Sized Enterprise sector. 

They announced that they will be receiving R1.2 billion from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), to support its lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), with a focus on women-owned businesses.

The financing, announced yesterday by the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, falls under the IFC SME Push Programme, a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder initiative that intends to promote lending and strengthen support for small and medium enterprises by the formal banking sector.  

FNB has a pioneering role as the first institution to be financed under the SME Push. The collaboration includes advisory services to FNB and its SME clients to increase their financial literacy.

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