Over the past couple of months FNB Namibia has issued a number of articles, under the signature of CEO Ian Leyenaar which were geared towards educating and informing
FNB believes that in the long run education provides the strongest foundation for lasting social and economic progress. By applying educational techniques not just in schools but also in communities, people will become more self-sustainable and less reliant on support – and this would ultimately bolster economic growth. FNB through products, services, availability of branches or ATM’s and the overall CSR programme which includes education reaches out to the society in general and hopes to enhance their overall standard of living.
FNB Namibia has, over the years, build a reputation of being so much more than a bank. This goes back to numerous projects for example the support of the country’s soccer teams. Not only has FNB handed over monetary support. No, the bank has also given the soccer clubs a helping hand with regard to business plans, budgeting and financing as well as marketing. The same is true for SME’s. Not only does the bank lend money to upcoming entrepreneurs. No, they have signed agreements with various institutions to ensure that these SME owners get the best support there is to make a success of their business.
The principle of going beyond being a mere financial institution also stretches to regular media releases in which the bank wishes to educate and inform the public about products and services available which will make their life easier and save money. FNB furthermore strives to educate the customers on debt, budgeting, teaching children to save from a young age and so much more.
Since January some of the focus areas have included the following:
Innovative, affordable, safe and convenient services offered by FNB Namibia. Ian Leyenaar advised in his media statement that cash was expensive and pointed out some of the innovations that the bank has introduced to ensure cost and time savings for customers such as the unique FNB innovation - eWallet. This service allows FNB customers to send money to anyone with an active Namibian cell phone number, they do not require a bank account. It can then be used to withdraw cash from FNB ATMs, buy prepaid airtime or electricity, or on-send to someone else even without having a bank account or bank card.
More products and services include FNB’s innovative award winning Smartphone Banking App and DotMobi which empowers the bank’s clients with additional and relevant new mobile solutions. FNBApp and DotMobi offer clients anytime, anywhere, safe and secure banking. And there is more ………….. “Many customers are not even aware of many such solutions, for example, the PaytoCell solution with which FNB clients can pay funds directly into another FNB client’s account by just using that client’s Cellphone number as a reference, no need to know the account number. These are only some of the ways in which to save time and money.”
Using the self-service channels and all other possibilities mentioned above also save customers money as there are numerous bank account options in which all electronic transactions are, for example, free of charge. It was important to remember that customers need never pay more than they expect in bank changes if they make sure they have the right account for their needs, and, more importantly, customers should take charge of their transacting behaviour, avoiding unnecessary extra costs.
There are many common mistakes people make which drive up their banking costs, like withdrawing money at an ATM that does not belong to your bank is costly because you pay SASWITCH fees. Withdrawing cash at tills is another way to cut down on costs. Participating retailers will allow you to withdraw an amount not exceeding your daily withdrawal limit. There are no costs from the retailer and you only pay the fee stipulated by your bank for stand-alone cash withdrawals. In most cases, this is lower than the usual ATM withdrawal fee.
Leyenaar, however, did not only offer products and services which save time and money. He also gave sound advice on managing finances, by avoiding debt and by starting to save from an early age. Parents play a critical role in teaching a savings behaviour.
Many parents across the income spectrum save for their children and are responsible in doing so; however, by not directly teaching children to save, they inadvertently do not foster the right savings habits in their children. “At FNB Namibia we hope to bring about a savings mindset that will serve as a foundation for year-round savings,” emphasizes Leyenaar. “We encourage a more responsible savings culture amongst Namibians and it is our hope that parents will take the lead on this.” To encourage a savings culture, FNB developed a special savings account called FirstSave that offers free deposits, higher interest rates and no monthly fees.”
Namibians are an indebted nation and need to start working responsibly with their finances in order to ensure that they do not live above their means. FNB Namibia highlighted the fact that situations such as having to borrow money from friends and family to pay for necessities such as rent, or using one’s credit card to pay off another could be a sure indicator that you are heading towards a serious debt problem. Full knowledge and understanding of your finances is crucial.
This will allow you to do proper planning and to accept responsibility for your current financial position. Write down every expense for the month, including groceries, clothing, electricity, rent or bond and credit card / debt repayments. Once this has been done, you will quickly see if your expenses are more than your income and, if so, that there is an immediate need to cut down on spending, to balance your budget and clear your debt.
The bank also gave some tips and advised to:
•Never buy groceries on your credit card unless you know you have the funds for it and only use it as a payment mechanism. You should not be paying interest on milk and bread long after you have consumed it.
•Never spend upwards of 90% of your income on debt repayment. Rather live frugally and work hard to pay off the debt slowly but surely. Once your debt is repaid, it is then time to start saving.
•Debt should be your first priority to eliminate since it could be a financial black hole.
•Rather save up for those big purchases.
Lastly FNB Namibia encouraged everyone to always:
•Prepare a budget laying out your ‘needs’ and see what’s left over for your ‘wants’.
•Be bold and show yourself that you can do it. Make those difficult decisions, such as cancelling entertainment and other non-essentials and “nice to have” subscriptions and costs until you have overcome your excessive indebtedness.
•Take note of every cent you spend, including seemingly small things like tuck money and your morning coffee.
•See how you can cut down the expenses you do control, like groceries and entertainment.
•Put this ‘extra’ money straight into reducing debt. Even an additional N$100 will make a big difference. Remember, it was never in your budget anyway.
•Reward your debt-busting efforts with a savings plan.
In conclusion, “If you can barely cope now with the current low interest rates, you will be in a dire position once interest rates increase,” concludes Leyenaar. PF