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News

Bag of Hope initiative hands over donations


25 June 2020: Namibia, through the HOPE initiative of FirstRand Namibia, recently handed over N$166 000 consisting of N$60 000 worth of maize, N$24 800 of pasta, N$26 400 of Weetbix, N$40 200 of cornflakes, N$4 300 of juice, and N$11 000 worth of soup packets to vulnerable families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

FNB Namibia Temporary Closure Swakopmund Branch


18 June 2020: FNB Namibia disclosed a necessary health and safety measure action in temporarily shutting down its Swakopmund branch for two days beginning Friday 19 June 2020, as a precaution to protect staff and customers from possible COVID19 infection.

 

First quarter house prices tumble further according to FNB Housing Index


09 June 2020: The FNB House Price Index posted a contraction of 5.9% y/y at the end of March 2020 compared to a contraction of 1.5% recorded over the same period of 2019.

 

FNB hands over N$1.5 million toward the National Disaster Relief Fund


02 June 2020: FNB, through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, has handed over a monetary contribution of N1.5 million to the Government in response to COVID-19 efforts.

 

FNB, Bokomo and Co-Feed Nambia partner on Bag of HOPE


19 May 2020: FNB, Bokomo Namibia and Co-Feed Namibia have partnered on a Food Drive initiative via the FNB Happiness Store which aims at alleviating hunger and assist the most vulnerable of our nation during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Mondesa Youth Opportunities Trust empowered to educate promising learners


18 May 2020: FNB handed over a donation of N$ 250 000 to the Mondesa Youth Opportunities Trust (MYO) which will be used to further the education of MYO students.

 

FNB Rental Index Shows Rental Rebound After Two-Years


18 May 2020: The FNB Rental Index for the first quarter of 2020 shows that overall residential rent prices rebounded from a two-year negative growth territory.

 

FNB and Bokomo spreading HOPE


05 May 2020: FNB and Bokomo Namibia have partnered on a Food Drive initiative via the FNB Happiness Store which aims at alleviating hunger and assist the most vulnerable of our nation during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

 

Alternative channels - affordable and accessible to all


28 April 2020: "Over the past few years, FNB Namibia has focused on developing a strong financial service offering, with special emphasis on digitisation, says Rodney Forbes, Executive Officer: FNB Points of Presence.

 

FNB Namibia cuts interest rates


22 April 2020: - FNB Namibia has announced an interest rate reduction, following the Bank of Namibia's repo rate cut last week of another 100 basis points.

 

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Oshikuku agency offcially opened


25 April 2017: On 20 April 2017 FNB CEO, Sarel van Zyl and His Worship the mayor of Oshikuku, Mbockoma Mungandjera offcially opened the FNB Oshikuku agency. In his address, Sarel van Zyl said that Oshikuku, and the greater Omusati region had been the radar of First National Bank for many years since the bank had set up its first representation there in the form of its first ATM.

"Our ATM was installed at Oshikuku years ago to provide essential banking services without any rudimentary banking activities here. But like all endeavours, growth is a constant factor, so in line with the current activities such as the number of commercial houses now in this area, it became an important goal for us to provide services closer to our customers here, hence our decision today to open this agency."

FNB Namibia is continuously looking at ensuring a pleasant banking experience for all customers, aiming to provide affordable and accessible banking channels to both the business and consumer segments throughout Namibia.
"Our operations at FNB are driven by our brand mantra of 'How can we help you?' This is an open invitation to all our stakeholders, including our clients, partners and of course our more than many employees - to talk to us and share ideas on how we can improve," Sarel said.

He added that the FNB corporate brand could be seen all over the country either through branches or agencies or strategic partnerships. "As Namibia's oldest financial services provider, we will continue to help by supporting our Government to steer the Namibian economic and financial agenda towards Vision 2030. Our involvement can be witnessed by how much we contribute to state coffers through direct and indirect taxes and to the upliftment and development of communities through the FNB Foundation Trust."

For more information, please contact
Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Justus Hausiku joins FNB Board


24 April 2017: FNB Namibia welcomes Justus Hausiku as non-executive director to the Board of Directors of First National Bank of Namibia Limited and FNB Namibia Holdings Limited. Hausiku is currently the Executive Chairman and co-founder of the Arch Group of Companies.

He has worked for numerous Namibian companies such as Hollard Life Insurance Namibia, Old Mutual Life Assurance Company, PriceWaterhouseCoopers to name a few, and has gained invaluable experience over the past 15 years.

He holds a Bachelor of Accounting degree from UNAM and a post-graduate diploma in accounting and CTA (honours degree) from Rhodes University in South Africa.

"I look forward to working with the leading banking Group in Namibia. Together we will ensure great service, value for money and work towards even greater inclusivity in banking for all Namibians", said Hausiku.

For more information, please contact
Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

FNB's Namene looks at inflation expectations and Namibia


19 May 2017: Namene Kalili, Research Manager, Strategic Marketing and Communications has commented on a variety of issues affecting Namibia, inflation and pricing.

Domestic inflation came in at 6.7% for April, continuing the downward trajectory from the 8.2% inflation shocker in January. Food disinflation drove overall inflation lower, printing 1.6% lower through April, from 13.2% in January. "Food prices are not going down, but instead continue to go up. However, the pace at which food prices are increasing has slowed remarkably.

A mere five months ago, food prices were rising at 13.5% per annum, but now they have come down to 5.3%. Most of this correction is attributed to increased food production in the Southern Africa, which has narrowed the excess food demand and moderated food inflation to a certain extent." Namene said that where cereal and bread prices increased by 15.4% in January, the rate of increase has come down to 0.9% and may possibly start falling from next month onwards.

Should this transpire, significant consumers of cereal and bread products will see their cost of living reduce for the first time in six years. Other cost pressures are in housing, which accounts for 39% of the overall inflation. The combination of low housing delivery and rising utility costs, has kept housing inflation upwardly sticky.

This is a situation that will persist if we do not address the structural housing supply problems, that have plagued the economy for the past decade. Whereas Windhoek has an estimated housing demand for 300 houses per month, a measly two houses were completed in Windhoek last month, one in Brakwater and another in Kleine Kuppe.

"These developments have necessitated a downward revision for our inflation expectations, we expect strong downwards trend until June, at which point, domestic cereal pricing mechanisms and new electricity tariff adjustments to lift food and housing inflation. This should stabilize inflation for the rest of the year, within the 3 to 6 percent band this year, and thus supporting our view for flat interest rates for the remainder of the year, which remains unchanged."

Regarding the petrol price hike in SA Namene advised that this was not necessarily influencing Namibia negatively. "SA has its own fuel fundamentals that drive their fuel prices. Ordinarily SA pump prices should have decreased, but the increase in road fund levies during the month resulted in increased pump prices. Back at home, fuel prices have remained unchanged, despite the under-recoveries on unleaded fuel and 500ppm diesel. Therefore, fuel prices may be adjusted in June if crude oil continues to fluctuate between U$53 and U$57 per barrel."

In conclusion Namene stated that they expected a long drawn out recovery in the absence of fiscal and monetary buffers. "We believe the weak savings culture has made our economy too dependent on consumption expenditure for growth, while relying on external funding to finance capital investments. Therefore, increased savings and direct integration of the suppliers of capital into the capital markets will yield greater broad based equity participation, and resuscitate and sustain high growth going forward.

For more information, please contact:
Communications Manager at FNB Holdings
Elzita Beukes
(+264 61) 299 2125
elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Mom knows best - also about finances


16 May 2017: Mothers deserve a lot of credit for the variety of life lessons they teach children; including guidance on finances. "In fact, more than eight in ten Americans say they learned something about money from their mothers," says Elzita Beukes, Manager: Corporate Communications at FNB Namibia. "In light of the recent Mother's Day and Women's Month, we thought it great to share some of the financial wisdom and savings tips we learned from our mothers that are still applicable today."

'We believe that a woman who has a bank account can take care of herself and her family, and while there are always exceptions to the rule, women have proved to manage debt and be better re-payers, and tend to put away more for a rainy day.'

Elzita adds, "The most fundamental rule to remember is to live within your means and to differentiate between a want and a need. Do you really need another pair of shoes or are the four pairs in the cupboard sufficient for now? This is something I learned from my mother and she also taught me to shop wisely and consider sales. These tips will stretch the budget to last a little longer." Mothers are interested in the kids' money learning process and the day-to-day aspects of financial management.

"Life lessons like "don't be late" and "practice, practice, practice" and "don't be afraid to ask for help" and many others have a direct application to your finances. After all, it's wise indeed to never make a late payment, to ensure that enough money is in the account for all the debit orders that go off and to seek advice on complicated money matters."

FNB Namibia offers a number of great products which talk to women and their families such as the Flexi Fixed Deposit accounts (which allow the customers to deposit additional funds into the account during the investment term, which can be either 3 or 12 months as well as 2 withdrawals to the value of 15% of the available balance), Bank Your Change™, point of sale for transactions when doing grocery shopping, Cellphone Banking (airtime purchases for the kids) and cardless ATM withdrawals if you forgot your card at home when running between work, school and home. Then there are the future accounts for school going kids, student loans for students and credit cards, which probably all women like!

Says Elzita: "One of the greatest products we offer at FNB that may appeal to the more prudent woman, is Bank Your Change™ as it is a feature on all Transactional Accounts which uses a linked Savings Pocket to automatically transfer money from your transactional account to your savings account, when you pay with your debit card." This feature is an innovative way for customers to automatically save their "left over" cents/change when they swipe their debit card. It helps the customer to save their money automatically - you are saving while you shop and you can determine how much must be set aside every time you swipe your debit card. Ladies, let us all become financially savvy and independent during Women's Month."

For more information, please contact:
Communications Manager at FNB Holdings
Elzita Beukes
(+264 61) 299 2944
vmuranda@fnbnamibia.com.na

Make provision for debit orders to avoid extra costs


15 May 2017: In an effort to consistently educate customers, FNB Namibia would like to share some advice with customers about honouring debit orders. "It seems as if some customers are unaware of the financial implications of not having enough money in their accounts for monthly debit orders," says Elzita Beukes, FNB Communications Manager.

If a customer does not have enough money in his or her account when the debit order is due, the debit order will not be paid and banks have to charge a penalty fee.

Customers should also be aware that bounced debit orders are recorded against your credit profile information. If it occurs often, it can affect your chances of getting credit in the future. It is important that we exercise prudence during these difficult financial times".

Elzita highlights the benefits of using a debit order, such as the convenience it offers without the customer having to manually make each monthly payment. "Paying by debit order is a simple and reliable way of making sure you keep up to date with your financial commitments. You'll never miss a payment and will be able to manage your budget better.

A debit order is a way for a third party, that you have given permission, to collect money from your bank account. It's typically used to collect monthly subscriptions, insurance premiums or loan repayments." In conclusion Elzita advises customers to pay all their accounts and necessities before spending on wants. "Arrange for your debit orders to go off on or soon after payday to ensure you have enough money available to pay them."

For more information, please contact:
Communications Manager at FNB Holdings
Elzita Beukes
(+264 61) 299 2125
elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

FNB supports Oshakati Totem Expo


23 May 2017: FNB Namibia has pledged an amount of N$35 000 towards the upcoming Oshakati Totem Expo.

Toivo Kalla Area Sales and Service Manager of FNB Namibia explained that this expo speaks to culture diversification and was a representation of family clans and the perseverance thereof. "Culture is the foundation of one's identity and it is very important that it is well preserved and documented for the current and future generation to know where they come from and where they're going to.

The Expo has fused with modern culture and allows for exhibitions from corporate and commercial companies, SMEs and various artists We are proud to support this event as a celebration of culture and as hub for business to flourish."

"FNB Namibia will be present at the expo with a mobile ATM to cater for clients who would need some cash, and we will advocate for the usage of digital banking platforms during the expo. Our lifestyle consultant will also be on hand to offer services such as account openings, registrations on Cellphone banking, Online banking, the Banking App, applications for overdrafts, credit cards and personal loans.

We look forward to welcoming the Northern community to our stand and look forward to asking them, 'How can we help you', "Kalla concluded.

For more information, please contact:
Communications Manager at FNB Holdings
Elzita Beukes
(+264 61) 299 2125
elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

FirstRand Namibia - Safest port in any economic storm


7 September 2018: FirstRand Namibia (previously FNB Namibia Holdings) produced a sound set of results for the year ended 30 June 2018. Notable particularly because financial services entities, and especially banks' earnings, are inextricably linked to the health of an economy and currently Namibia's economy is facing challenging conditions.

The group's results and commentary were released on a normalised basis as the group believes this most accurately reflects its economic performance. The full results include the acquired Pointbreak companies and EBank for a full twelve months whereas prior year only had this in for three months (the acquisition was only concluded on 30 March 2017, making line items in the profit and loss statement impacted by the acquisition, not comparable at face value. Normalised operations therefore exclude the Pointbreak and EBank earnings impact for the current and comparative year.

"Despite a very challenging economic period, the group produced a set of satisfactory results for the year under review. The group maintained a stable funding and liquidity base and sustained a solid capital position" says Oscar Capelao, Chief Financial Officer of FirstRand Namibia.

Headline earnings at N$ 1 039 million were slightly lower than last year. Normalised earnings - headline earnings adjustments, non-operational items and impact of the acquired subsidiaries which did not form part of the group for the full comparative period provide a more accurate view of performance.

Normalised profit before tax for the year decreased by 3.8% to N$ 1 580.2 million. Return on average equity was 22.1% (2017: 25.6%), and return on average assets was 2.7% (2017: 3.0%) while cost to income ratio increased slightly to 50.3% (2017: 48.4%).

"We are satisfied that the return to all of our investments of time, effort and expense has delivered appropriately to our stakeholders, and we are ready to continue upping our game year on year. Systems enhancements, treating customers fairly through strengthened governance structures, and managing legacy systems while investing in digital innovations, has certainly affected profit, but we believe the investments we have made to be sound, and good, for customers. We are committed to delivering to our 'bank of the future' goal while remaining today's preferred bank too" says Sarel van Zyl, CEO of FirstRand Namibia.

"Resilient, high quality earnings on the back of reasonable top line growth, translated into a strong return profile, well-positioned for the continued emergence of the credit cycle", adds Capelao.

These earnings deliver sound returns to the group's local shareholders (nearly 40%), and nearly 80% of the group's profit before tax distribution stays in Namibia via local shareholders' returns, 35% re-investment into Namibia, and taxation.

"In these difficult times, helping and supporting our customers through the cycle is a priority. Providing solutions to assist them transactionally, ensuring the protection of their assets, helping them invest and manage what they have for growth, and insuring them against losses, is what our full service end to end financial services group offers. How can we help you remains our call to action".

"I would like to thank our employees for their contribution, hard work, and dedication to ensure that customers experience "a great Namibian financial services business, creating a better world". I am confident that together we will continue to provide value for our customers, shareholders and stakeholders", concludes van Zyl.

FNB and SMEs support make business dreams come true


5 September 2018: Erastus Amenya, based in Rosh Pinah, is one of numerous entrepreneurs who have routinely received business growth support from SMEs Compete and the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust. From humble beginnings as a vehicle washing business, Amenya has grown his firm, Ondje Trading Enterprises cc, into a significant employer in that southern mining town and today has a staff complement of 24 employees.

Over the past decade, Amenya has diversified his operations. Not only does he clean vehicles and mining equipment, including conveyor belts on-site at Skorpion Zinc Mine, but also operates a laundry, provides transport service, manages waste water, runs a car wash facility in the town's centre, a fish shop in the high-density suburb of Tutungeni, develops and manages property and even has a farming operation in the northern town of Omuthiya.

Erastus says: "None of this would have been possible without the unwavering support of my banker. FNB Namibia has stood by me through thick and thin, and the routine mentorship and guidance I regularly receive from SMEs Compete has also helped." Asked about his management style, Amenya says he emulates his role model, Namibian business icon, Aupa Frans Indongo. "When it comes to growth and diversification, I work alongside my staff, keep my eye on the ball at all times, and maintain a solid working relationship with my bank and suppliers," he adds: "When I don't know, I ask, and I listen to the advice of SMEs Compete, as they just like FNB, are always there for me."

FNB Namibia established an SME Business Unit in 2005 to specifically service the needs of budding and novice entrepreneurs and added tailored products and services over the years to meet the needs of Namibia's small and medium enterprise sector. The bank, through its FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, further decided to support SME sector development programmes of many organisations, tertiary educational institutions, governmental departments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that nurture entrepreneurship and foster an enterprise culture among young Namibians.

One of the organisations the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust works with is SMEs Compete. Founded by Claudine Mouton, Collin Gaochab Kakuva and Danny Meyer under a partnership arrangement, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust and the German Development Service DED now part of GIZ, SMEs Compete provides an array of business growth support services to SMEs across Namibia. This includes mentorship, skills development, book-keeping and administration system development and implementation, status regularisation and compliance assistance, as well as marketing support among others.

"Although other corporate firms and development institutions fund business and job creation programmes of SMEs Compete, the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust remains a key supporter," says SMEs Compete's Claudine Mouton. "What we like about working with FNB is the constant development and introduction of services that make it easier for SMEs to access funding to start or grow business," adds Mouton, referring to the bank's SME Special Fund.

With FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust's backing, SMEs Compete supports hundreds of other entrepreneurs like Erastus Amenya across the country. The number of SMEs helped with the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust over the past decade tops the 2 000 mark.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Early signs of recovery in housing market


5 September 2018: FNB Namibia has released the housing index based on figures obtained from June 2018. According to FNB Analyst Josephat Nambashu, although house prices increased by 0.8% y/y in June, property prices remain under pressure, after a series of annual falls over the last nine months, to bring the average house price to just over N$1.2 million. "The continued drop in the economy and the increased costs of living on the back of fuel increases remains a stark reminder that consumer spending remains under pressure, which is consequently depressing domestic property prices."

Josephat, having looked at the last three months, declares that house price contractions have been decelerating; although, at 0.8%, it is too soon to declare that the market is out of the woods, as the volumes continue to shift towards the lower price segments. "The single and biggest contributor was the lower price segment, which registered a healthier 7.1% y/y price growth. On the back of renewed demand in the lower price segment, volumes in this particular segment have increased by 24.5% over the past year. In contrast, large to luxury segments remained the weakest, as volumes continue to dry up. In the last five months, only three transactions registered in the luxury segment."

It is furthermore stated in the June FNB Housing index, that overall volumes ticked up by 17.4% on an annual basis, driven primarily by the lower price segment, and to a lesser extent, the middle price segment. These findings are further confirmed by an increase in the average time on the market, now up to 25 weeks, a deterioration in our affordability index (meaning housing have become increasingly unaffordable) and properties selling further below asking price (9.3% below asking price).

When looking at the central property prices, in June, house prices rose by 0.3% y/y, as property prices in the upper price segments contracted by 6.6%. However, in the lower and more affordable segments, prices increased by 8.3% over the same period, at a time when this segment has seen 5.6% increase in volumes. In the capital, property price growth decelerated further to 2.0%. Properties in this market are reported spending 27 weeks on the market whilst the investment market (buy-to-let) has also slowed. The regional volume index picked up by 8.8%, with nearly all transactions falling into the low to middle price segments. The average house price in the region now stands at N$1 496,000.

House price growth at the coast remained negative, at -2.6% for the whole coastal region. In Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, house prices fell by 12.8% and 18.7% respectively while Henties Bay bucked the trend with 6.1% house price growth. Price pressures emanated from increased housing supply, after transaction volumes surged by 67.0% annually. Low income properties emanating from the mass housing programme and the aggressive land delivery, continued to push coastal property prices down, at a time when property prices are seasonally strong.

So far in 2018 house prices in the northern market have kept their upward trend, albeit at a slower pace, reflective of the prevailing softness in the market. In June, house prices increased by 5.3% y/y. While property prices were still on the increase in Ongwediva (+12.8%), Grootfontein (+10.5%), Otjiwarongo (+8.7%) and Outapi (+7.2%), house prices fell in Eenhana (-35.5%) and Tsumeb (-26.5%), while stagnating in Oshakati (-0.2%) and Ondangwa (-0.1%). Volumes shot up by 6.3% over the year, more concentrated in Eenhana, Oshakati and Ondangwa, where property prices were either under pressure or stagnant.

Prices in southern Namibia were up 2.2% y/y while volumes shot up by as much as 60.0%. This has meant that the number of properties traded in June has increased to 9 transactions, and therefore caution must be taken when interpreting these figures, though market dynamics are very much identical to those in the northern region.

Land delivery accelerated by 43% on average in the first half of the year, surpassing the 33% average for 2017. The additional stands were mainly concentrated in the coastal and northern areas were larger stands of about 451m² and 791m² were recorded. Walvis Bay and Swakopmund delivered the most land during June, whiles land delivery in the central parts of the country, edged up by 8% year on year. This has resulted in over 700 new stands delivered over the first six months of the year, which is a significant improvement over last year's figure. Additionally, municipal plans approved have also ticked up, which is further leading indicator that housing volumes should increase even further.

Josephat concludes that with economic growth stagnating and consumer confidence waning, the most talked-about event in recent months is the fact that house prices have been falling, and correctly so. He adds: "Given that the property market has lagged economic growth by 18 months, we still expect price pressures to persist until the end of 2019. While the 43% increase in land delivery is good news to those in the housing backlog, and that there's going to continue to be downward pressure on house prices, the weak labour market and sluggish wage growth have dampened demand for housing. Additionally, cement prices have been falling, since the introduction of a second manufacturer in the market, which should provide further encouragement for developers to take advantage of the lower input costs. All these factors point towards increased supply, which should add further downward pressure on house prices, as reflected in our quarterly estate agent survey, which shows that properties are selling 9.3% below asking price. Despite recent price developments, which we believe are premature, we kept our forecasts, for house prices to contract by 5.8% for 2018 and a further 1.2% in 2019."

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Financial planning brings the future into your present


30 August 2018: "No one knows what the future holds, and it is thus important that you have enough insurance to cover your mortgage, child's education and your essential expenses," says Ian van der Walt, Channel Head: Advisory at FNB Namibia. "We do not know what life throws at us and therefore life insurance can help cover funeral costs, bills and ongoing expenses, debt, future needs like education and your spouse's retirement."

Van der Walt advises that the decision to get life insurance should be fairly simple. "If anyone depends on you financially, you need life insurance. If you have debt, live in a rented property or have a mortgage, if you are the breadwinner or one of the salary contributors to the family, you need life insurance."

Van der Walt encourages customers to contact FNB Namibia for all their financial needs which extend beyond life insurance to include more products and services such as income replacement cover, funeral cover, fiduciary services, savings and investments, retirement, disability and critical illness cover as well as business insurance.

"Our lives are constantly changing and each change can affect our financial situation and our insurance needs. Life insurance coverage is one investment you can make now that will cover your family's assets and ensure their future financial stability. Life insurance can't replace you, but it can give your family what they need when you are gone," concludes van der Walt.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Why Namibians need to pay attention to the global decline in cheques usage


29 August 2018: Globally, the use of cheques is consistently declining as financial institutions and most of their customers increasingly adopt technologically advanced payment alternatives that are far more convenient and cheaper.

Johan van der Westhuizen, FNB Executive Officer: Business says in simple terms, cheques convey a written instruction to your bank to pay money from or into your bank account, and due to manual functionality in this process, there are substantial disadvantages that go with this option.

"Over the years, the growing usage of electronic payment methods, high expenses, inefficient processes and vulnerability to fraud have been key contributors to the global decline in cheques usage. In addition, cheques do not offer users the convenience and relative security provided by digital payment solutions."

Van der Westhuizen says Namibia's migration away from cheques has mainly been driven by customers embracing the convenience of emerging technology. However, he says, there is a role for all financial institutions to educate customers about alternative payment methods and their added benefits.

Benefits for using alternative payment methods

Digital migration - the global community is rapidly going digital, which means acceptance of digital payments is on the increase - customers and businesses are demanding instant and seamless integrated user-experience.

Value-added incentives - financial service providers are increasingly incentivising customers for embracing digital platforms. For instance, FNB rewards individuals with Cash Back paid directly into their linked savings pocket for adopting certain digital banking behaviour.

Save on fees - cheques still carry a higher expense for both the customer and their bank compared to digital payments which can be processed at a fraction of the cost.

Improved safety - Cheque fraud is a global phenomenon and Namibia is not immune, whereas digital platforms are equipped to help clients mitigate fraud at a click of a button.

"In this regard, we have innovations like smart inContact, which allows you to safely approve Online Banking transactions on the FNB Banking App, verify devices that login to your profile, and use secure messaging to immediately report any fraudulent transactions 24/7," adds van der Westhuizen.

Convenience - as written instruction to your bank to pay money from or into your bank account, the process in which funds move between banks is extended over several days, typically 7 days. Digital payments, which include Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) and Card payments enable flow of funds to be done much quicker, and with little to no reliance on visiting the nearest branch.

"The universal shift towards digital payments is rapidly emerging across societies and in markets such as the United Kingdom, we've seen dedicated working groups tasked with fact-finding around the future of cheques vs digital payments. We are also on the same mission to understand our customers' needs and how we can help in adopting alternate payment methods," concludes van der Westhuizen.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Save in foreign currency with an FNB Global Account


28 August 2018: Have you dreamt of putting aside a little extra in a foreign currency for that once-in-a-lifetime holiday abroad? Or just simply being able to save and transact in foreign currency to avoid having all your 'eggs in one basket'?

"Now is your chance", says Neville Ntema. FNB Namibia proudly offers the exciting Global Account. Ntema explains: "A Global Account is an account in a foreign currency that allows you to invest your foreign investment allowances. There are no account fees and no interest is earned on this account. You will be able to make payments to offshore beneficiaries while your earnings from abroad can be paid into your Global Account. You are furthermore able to keep earnings received from abroad in foreign currency and cash out your pounds, euros and US dollars, during and after your travel and you can use your Global Account to order, reload and cash out your foreign currency."

This account is held in Namibia and has the elements of an offshore account. Customers can put money into the account in Namibia as it can be linked to the customer's other accounts via the internet or the FNB App.

This fantastic opportunity is open to any Namibian who is 18 years or older, has the minimum opening balance of N$10 000, is a registered tax payer and whose FNB Lifestyle account is in good standing. "We look forward to assisting our existing and potentially new customers with this great new Global Account and any of our nearest branches. For more information customers are also welcome to call our Contact Centre on 061 299 2222 or their relationship manager," concludes Neville.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Maintain a disciplined savings mindset


23 August 2018: According to a survey done by the Namibia Statistics Agency - barely one in ten people have savings to fall back on when they run out of money.

"A savings mindset is an ongoing process and if executed correctly will help you and your family in the future," says Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Namibia. "The volatile economy has exhausted household expenditure and has forced consumers to re-evaluate their spending habits and look for simple saving methods."

Emphasis needs to be placed on creating a saving strategy that is aligned to your life-goals, needs and wants. Some will save towards wedding related expenses, anniversaries, significant birthday's, local or international holidays or home renovations, others will open a Savings Account in case of emergency, while others will save to be able to spoil themselves with, for example a branded leather handbag or designer shoes. "Whatever your savings goal is, ensure that you start saving sooner rather than later."

Elzita outlines five core saving principles which will help customers in building their savings strategy:

  • Live within your means: Don't overspend on things that you don't need. Look at your current situation and assess what is important and what is unnecessary in your life. "Over extending yourself with unnecessary debt just adds strain to relationships and is not sustainable in the long-term."
  • Have a goal-based mindset: Your monthly savings goals should speak to your household and family needs. Determine your short, medium or long-term goals as this will help eliminate wasteful expenditure and help you identify saving avenues.
  • Prioritise your budget: A well-managed budget will help you keep track of your expenses and your savings. Ensure that this budget is kept up-to-date and includes all your household expenses.
  • Pay yourself first: Key to enjoying your money is to pay yourself first. Allocate a certain amount to yourself - which you can use in case of emergency, to spoil yourself or to save towards a specific goal.
  • Have a Savings Account that you will use: Build your savings with a savings account or a cash investment account that will help you save and accumulate wealth over time.

Discipline and commitment are needed to ensure that you stick to your savings goals. "Whether big or small, your initial saving steps will make a difference and help in building a saving culture in South Africa," concludes Elzita.

FNB offers a range of savings and cash investment accounts where you will not only benefit from attractive interest rates, but your capital and quoted returns are fully guaranteed, so you can trust that your hard-earned money is kept safe and growing. FNB also introduced the cash back reward programme, bank-your-change as well as numerous digital options which are free of charge. All of these can be actioned by customers and will assist them in saving on a monthly basis.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Tips for managing your inheritance


6 August 2018: How often have we heard that an inheritance has been squandered within a short period and people have been left with nothing? An inheritance can be a great financial bonus, but if it is not managed correctly there can be numerous challenges and getting rich quick may turn out to be a curse, rather than a blessing," says Lucas Kotzé, Head: FNB Fiduciary.

"Resist the urge to use the money, let it sink in first and put the money in a short-term bank deposit while working out what you want to do with it. Don't tell anyone about your windfall. It's amazing how people suddenly want to be part of your best friend circle once they find out about your inheritance," Lucas adds.

Further, often, if there is no will, family members who have been tasked with handling the affairs, do not have the technical knowledge to execute the affairs and might end up paying too much or handling it inefficiently. "FNB Fiduciary can assist by handling all the technical issues, whether there is a will or not," advises Lucas.

Tips to managing your inheritance

  • Say no to impulse purchases
  • Understand the implications of your inheritance
  • Do not resign from your job
  • Have a personal finance day
  • Make a list of who you owe and what the rate of interest is
  • Portion the funds
  • Diversify, diversify, and diversify
  • Enlist the help of a financial advisor

"Advice from a professional financial advisor will help you manage your inheritance better. If invested correctly, you and your family will benefit greatly in the long run," concludes Lucas.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Extra cash back greatly appreciated


25 July 2018: Since the launch of the FNB Rewards programme in November 2017 customers and employees of the bank have earned over N$8 million in cash back. "We are extremely happy with the rewards that our customers and employees have earned over the past nine months for doing everyday things like: purchasing airtime on Cellphone Banking, Online Banking or using the Banking App; filling up with fuel with an FNB Credit Card, and spending with a debit or credit card. Cash Backs have been paid into a linked Savings Pocket for customers to use whenever, and on whatever they please," says Ryno Holland-Mutter, FNB Rewards Manager.

Oshoyeli Nuuyuni: "Initially when the rewards were launched I was extremely excited and when I changed my banking behaviour by using the app for banking transfers, payment and a whole range of other stuff. I also started to transact more on my credit card and now I smile all the way at the end of each month.

Zico Maasdorp advises that after his branch upgraded his credit card and fixed the marketing consent he received his first reward money. "I then changed my spending behaviour by swiping for fuel and other purchases with my credit card, and now I earn great money every month and have additional funds available. Thank you FNB."

There are seven possible goals you can aspire to in order to reach the next reward level. These include:

  • Going digital on all statements, using the FNB App, transacting on FNB Debit and Credit Card;
  • Growing your savings balance;
  • Having an Investment Account, a personal loan and/or a home loan.

If all the criteria are met, you will achieve level seven of the Reward programme and are then rewarded with a cash back on a variety of transactions such as paying for fuel with the credit card, purchasing groceries with the debit card and paying for pre-paid airtime.

FNB Namibia will reward customers with:

  • up to 10% on fuel purchases with Credit Card;
  • up to .025% on Debit Card spend;
  • up to 2.25% on Credit Card spend; and
  • up to 10% on prepaid airtime purchased.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB Holdings on telephone: (+264 61) 299 2125, 081 143 6599 or elzita.beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

Do More and Pay Less with FNB's Digital Channels


28 June 2018: FNB Namibia's customers continue to save money and earn rewards as they shift their financial transactions away from branches to an ever-widening range of easy digital channels. The drive for customers to benefit from FNB's innovative solutions such as Advance Deposit Taking (ADTs) machines, the Cash at Till service, the newly introduced CashPlus banking and extended eWallet services coming soon, continues to deliver better ways in which FNB customers can bank more affordably, easily and efficiently.

Just as over the past few years, FNB Namibia has remained committed to putting customers first by keeping several major fees unchanged, while even decreasing others. ATM withdrawals, Advance Deposit Taking (ADT) machines, monthly fees on the Student, and Premier Bundled option, eWallet transactions and online payments and transfers are some of the fees that have remained flat, while App payments and card purchases have both seen decreases of 87% and 17% respectively. To further enable their customers to overcome airtime and connectivity hurdles when using FNB e-banking options, FNB Namibia has equipped four of its branches with free Wifi and will roll this out to a further 14 branches countrywide soon. This free Wifi service enables customers to download the FNB App immediately and start banking more affordably.

At the same time, the FNB Rewards programme has been an exciting bonus to the lives of FNB Namibia's customers. Making easy changes from old-fashioned banking behaviour to digital and cashless transacting, means that FNB customers have been able to earn cash back directly into their savings accounts with little effort. To date, FNB Namibia has paid out over N$8 million to qualifying customers since the launch of the programme in November last year.

"More and more customers have not visited a physical branch in the past nine months, opting instead to transact on the Bank's digital platforms, exciting evidence that our customers are experiencing the value of embracing FNB self-servicing channels," says Sarel van Zyl, CEO of FNB Namibia Holdings. Other exciting additions to FNB's self-service toolbox include ADTs (automatic deposit taking machines), where FNB customers can deposit up to N$20 000 per day, Cash at Till, allowing FNB customers to withdraw cash at selected retailers after swiping their debit card to pay for purchases, and CashPlus, which offers FNB customers cash deposit and withdrawal services at selected Small and Medium Retail outlets. "Introducing banking solutions to remote areas, essentially to wherever our customers are, is one of the ways we pro-actively answer our own question of 'how can we help you?" says van Zyl.

At the same time that many FNB fees remain unchanged, FNB announced that inContact, FNB's innovative messaging service, and Prepaid Electricity Purchases will remain free on all electronic channels, and continues to offer customers free subscription to FNB's electronic channels i.e. FNB Online Banking, FNB Cellphone Banking and the FNB App. As an initial promotional offer, the FNB Cash at Till offering will also be offered free after 1 July.

FNB Namibia encourages all customers to familiarise themselves with the pricing guide, to ensure that they choose the bank products best suited to their individual needs. The pricing guide is available on the website of the bank www.fnbnamibia.com.na.

Let us start saving in 5 simple steps


26 June 2018: Saving and investing has become an important aspect of our lives. More so than before, we need to look at innovative ways to grow our money.

"With the increase in household expenses due to the tough economic climate, rising fuel price and the rising inflation, we need to ensure that we have enough saved for the future or any arising eventualities" says Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager of FNB Namibia. "And in light of June being savings month, we want to suggest the following savings steps that will help start the savings journey."

  • Savings Plan: This initial step is the most important step in the process. You need to plan, understand and choose what you want to save for. Be it for a gift, a new pair of sunglasses or long-term goals like education, retirement - your savings plan will be your blueprint to starting your savings journey.
  • Budget: There's nothing worse than not having spare cash on hand, especially in an emergency. Ensure that you have an up-to date budget that details your daily and ongoing expenses clearly. This budget should be updated monthly.
  • Goals: Ensure that your short and long-term goals are clearly defined. This helps you identify your priorities and distinguish between needs, wants and responsibilities.
  • Research and execution: So, you've planned and budgeted, now you need to decide where you would like to put the money. When making your decision, look at the interest rate offered and for long-term goal, partner with a trusted money manager to help you receive good returns.
  • Review: Monitor and ensure that you stick to your savings goals. This is an important step as we often tend to ignore our goals and spend more than we should.

FNB Namibia offers a variety of options where people will save without feeling the pinch. These include: FNB Rewards, which gives customers cash back in their linked savings pocket when they use electronic banking channels such as internet banking, cellphone banking and the FNB App. "Because this saving is automatic it will not influence your monthly plan at all, and could be your first step in saving", adds Elzita.

Another great way to save, without actually realising, is the bank-your-change product by FNB Namibia. This feature is an innovative way for customers to automatically save their "left over" cents when they swipe their FNB debit card at any point of sale terminal. "Talk to our people and receive all the information you need to become savings savvy," concludes Elzita.

Tippy taps for informal settlements


1 April 2020 - RMB Namibia, through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, has donated N$ 500 000 to assist a COVID-19 emergency response programme directly targeting the informal settlements in Windhoek.

Conrad Dempsey, CEO of RMB Namibia explained that Windhoek's informal settlements with more than 180,000 residents are likely to be the first and hardest hit by COVID-19 over the coming weeks in terms of health, as well as economically as the crisis unfolds.

"The programme supported by RMB is implemented by the not-for-profit organisation Development Workshop Namibia (DWN) in collaboration with the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE). Together we aim to assist in setting up more than 10 000 hand washing units, known as tippy taps over the following 20 days thereby reaching approximately 40 000 families. There is a real chance to reach out to the majority of informal settlement households (approximately 65,000) within a short period of time", Dempsey said.

Activities on the ground were initiated last week and teams of DWN staff and local volunteers already set up more than 500 tippy taps within a few days. By early April, four teams with 60 volunteers will be setting up between 300-400 tippy taps per day across the informal settlements of Windhoek. As teams become more practiced, the rate may increase to 130 units per team per day.

Dempsey extended his heartfelt gratitude towards all other partners as well as the many volunteers who have been hard at work installing the tippy taps. "From examples across the world we know that it is important to react early and decisively. We hope that the support from RMB will contribute towards reducing the impact that COVID-19 will have on the most vulnerable segments of Namibia's population," concluded Dempsey.

Pamphlets on COVID-19 and how to construct the tippy taps are also being distributed in the informal settlements.

FNB Supports Customers with Real Help on Fees


29 March 2020 - As of the 1st of April, until the 30th of June 2020 FNB will be making all transactions done on the FNB App free, at a 100% discount.

This discount was announced on Sunday 29 March 2020 by Nangula Kauluma, FNB Namibia Retail Executive and applies to payments, transfers, purchases of prepaid airtime and electricity on the FNB App. The FNB App is also free to download and access and does not carry any additional data charges.

Kauluma encourages all customers to swipe as opposed to using cash in these times. To assist customers during this time, FNB has reduced the swipe fee by 50% for all customers on Pay As You Use Pricing Options, with Kauluma noting that this fee is already free for all customers on Electronic Pricing Options.

All FNB Namibia cashback withdrawals at a Point of Sale will be free, also at a 100% reduction in fee. This now means FNB customers can withdraw from their accounts at no charge from branded tills at their favorite Retailers including Shoprite, USave and Checkers.

Additionally, FNB retail customers are encouraged to make use of FNB ATMs that allow retail customers to deposit up to N$20,000 into any FNB account without any additional charges.

Commercial customers' ATM/ADT deposit fees have also been significantly reduced.

"All customers are encouraged to make use of FNB's widest range of digital services in the country, in order to stay safe and limit the spread of COVID19. We wish all our customers a safe lockdown at home," concluded Kauluma. #realhelp from FNB.

#RealHelp from FNB


26 March 2020 - FNB Namibia has come out in support of FNB Customers impacted by COVID19. Ramping up its leading digital offering, the most extensive in the country, Erwin Tjipuka, FNB Namibia CEO has confirmed it's 24/7 digital status is available countrywide and continues to be monitored and supported fully during this time. Most essential transactions can already be easily managed via the FNB App, online banking and the USSD cellphone banking offering, including statement checking, payments, transfers, prepaid purchases of electricity, box office, and airtime, said Tjipuka.

Ewallet, already appreciated by over 1 million accounts transactions, continues to be the safest form of money transfer, specifically useful instead of using cash day to day. Cash, while still necessary in limited spaces, and available from the bank's ATMs and countrywide FNB Cash at Till supermarkets, has been noted as a potential carrier of infection as it passes from hand to hand, and as such customers are encouraged to make use of electronic banking wherever possible instead.

"FNB Namibia has a vast array of electronic banking options and these should be utilised for the foreseeable future - meaning the need to go into a physically bank branch should be avoided at this stage," said Tjipuka. "Where physically entering a branch is required, customers are assured that we are taking extreme measures to ensure their health and safety and that of our employees. Social distancing guidelines are being followed, limited contact, extreme hygiene measures and new rules regarding ATM and ADT deposit thresholds to limit branch congestion are clearly indicated in branches to help us all help each other be safe, while still ensuring customers can continue with their essential banking requirements."

With regard to financial support options, customers are requested to contact their relationship manager or personal banker, if not already in discussion, to discuss options available for payment relief and/or funding support on a case by case basis. As per banking rules, customers in good standing benefit from a number of credit options within the bank's product range, while at the same time, saving wherever one can during these times makes sense for long term goals we all plan to achieve once we are through the worst.

"Download the FNBApp. Register for cellphone and online banking and use all available digital options to maintain contact with the bank as you need it. Skype business meetings continue, and usual telephonic and text support remains available, and our 'How to Videos' are available on FNBApp and cellphone banking are available on the App, on social media and in-branch TVs. FNB Namibia's 'Think twice, Act smart' campaign continues during this time also, reminding everyone to be alert to cybercrime and real crime possibilities, to treat their card as cash, and limit exposure of pins and card details at all times," concluded Tjipuka.

FNB Namibia has cut its Prime and Home Loan Base Rate


25 March 2020:

Prime Rate New rate
Old rate
9.00%
10.00%
Home Loan Rate New rate
Old rate
10.00%
11.00%

However our investment and savings rates were cut at different levels for different products. Many of our customers are dependent on interest income (such as senior citizens) from our investment products to fund living expenses, and as such FNB has taken the decision to cut at less than 1% for these products so that senior citizens and our customer base with 32-day investment accounts, for example, do not see a reduction on investments, as it may impact their disposable income during these difficult times.

Get your FNB commercial card and earn your spend back


20 March 2020 - FNB Namibia Fleet Services has launched a Commercial Card campaign in collaboration with Engen Namibia. Commercial Card holders can now fill up at any Engen and increase their chance of getting 10c or more in cash back from FNB, for every litre filled up on a monthly basis.

"In light of the COVID-9 outbreak, this campaign comes at a very crucial time when the business industry faces economic challenges, a time when saving on fuel rates may be a welcome relief," says Philip Chapman, FNB Executive Officer: Commercial.

"We encourage existing and potential new customers to apply for their Commercial Card to enjoy these benefits." The FNB Commercial Card can be used to pay for fuel, oil replacement, repairs and maintenance.

"We would also like to point out that there are numerous other benefits of the Commercial Card such as the fact that it is the only fleet card in Namibia, accepted in all African countries," advises Chapman.

The use of this card leads to improved and monitored fleet management. The card is also accessible via Chip & Pin for enhanced security and the Pin can be changed at any FNB ATM while an In-contact Message is sent for all transactions. There is also an Interest free period as well as Auto Online reporting system.

"Apply today and operate your fleet to travel cash-free while using the card to pay for fuel, oil replacement, repairs and maintenance," adds Chapman.

Customers will receive an email to educate them on the rebate system per litre of fuel that companies and individuals filled up with.

FNB offers real help in uncertain times


23 March 2020 - As Namibians and the international community continue to intensify efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, FNB says it is committed to help its customers stay healthy by banking safely and conveniently.

"Digital Banking has always been and remains a core strategic pillar for the bank, both from an enablement and convenience perspective, and now more so since the outbreak of Covid-19", says Elzita Beukes, FNB Communication Manager. "Over the last year for example, the highest number of customers migrated to the FNB Banking App, Online Banking and Cellphone banking for their day-to-day banking".

Customers are encouraged to make use of FNB's wide range of digital banking opportunities available via the FNB App, Online Banking, Cellphone banking - USSD options, Ewallet, ATMs and ADTs and cash at preferred retailers.

"Digital transactions should be considered for health reasons and for the cost saving this delivers to customers. Our customers not only appreciate a consistent user experience, but also have access to secure digital platforms that effortlessly caters for their holistic banking needs, even from the comfort of their home", adds Beukes.

"In light of social distancing and with our customers' health and safety as a priority, we have increased the frequency of cleaning our premises and ensure that where relevant, all our respective environments undergo deep-cleaning, including regular ATM/ADT cleaning. As of 6 April, all withdrawals and deposits under 5000 will have to be done at our ATMs and ADTs outside of the branches. We have also dedicated the first hour of banking to the elderly" concludes Beukes.

Fourth quarter residential property prices dampen


18 March 2020 - The FNB House Price Index stood at -4.7% y/y as at December 2019 compared to 0.5% y/y recorded over the same period of the preceding year. On a quarterly basis, the house price index growth has averaged -5.1% y/y in Q4 of 2019 compared to -2.4% y/y realised over the same period of 2018.This brought the average national house price to N$1 155 468 at the end of 2019.

The relative deeper contraction witnessed in the fourth quarter continues to point towards demand side risks emanating from weakening economic conditions, subdued real wage growth and high level of households' indebtedness.

"Evidently, residential property transactions have been largely skewed towards the small segment - a trend that can be traced back to early 2016. For instance, the small segment contributed 70.0% of transaction volumes in 2016 and has gradually increased to 80.9% in 2019, while the market shares for the medium, large and luxury segments have consistently declined from 24.5%, 4.8% and 0.8% to 16.8%, 1.9% and 0.4% respectively over the corresponding period" says Frans Uusiku, Market Researcher at FNB Namibia.

As a result, the volume index growth continues to disappoint on the downside, reaching historic record lows of -24.5% y/y as at December 2019 and averaging -19.4% y/y for the quarter.

"The current dynamics in the housing market are largely a manifestation of an "economic story" and demand side constraints induced by a low growth environment that has dragged on since 2016. As a result, growth in disposal income has been under immense pressure, further creating affordability issues in the housing market. This is evident in the shift in activity towards the small segment across the four regions, although this trend is also seen to be slowly dissipating as economic hurdles lingers" Uusiku says.

"While we believe that the decision by the Bank of Namibia 's MPC to reduce the repo rate from 6.50% to 6.25% and the resultant adjustments by commercial banks is a welcome development to support domestic growth, the pass-through effects of the reduced interest rates may be minimal to the already indebted households. Henceforth, reviving demand in the residential property market may require a structural shift in the extent of land delivery for housing. This will bring about a new state of equilibrium that responds to purchasing power of the economy."

"Looking ahead, we retain our view that downside demand risks will continue to dominate due to the erosion of household spending power. As such, property prices will remain in the red, particularly in the medium to upper end of the market", concluded Uusiku.

RealHelp Payment relief from FNB Namibia


3 April 2020 - As Namibia and the international community continue to intensify efforts to curb the spread of Covid-19, FNB Namibia says its efforts to help customers whose financial positions are adversely impacted by the Corona virus are ongoing.

"As we escalate our efforts to help customers, we are pleased to announce that as from 7 April - 30 Jun 2020 we will implement measures to provide relief to individual and business customers whose financial stability has been impacted by COVID-19. Our interventions will assist customers who demonstrate sound banking behaviour, one of which is having honoured their repayments to the bank on a consistent basis prior to COVID-19, as well as other criteria," said Erwin Tjipuka, CEO FNB Namibia.

Over and above the concessions FNB Namibia has made to date with discounting transactional fees and increased digital access, for those customers that qualify, our COVID-19 interventions will be for all term products with us, and will be available for a period of three months and cover the following:

  • Instalment cashflow relief, during which part or no instalments/repayments will be due for a specific period;
  • No fees will be charged for any repayment relief granted over the period;
  • Assistance with processing credit insurance claims, where relevant (typically retrenchment cases only, but not definitive).
  • The new concessions include a three-month payment holiday to all student loans that are in good standing as at the end of February 2020.

Interest and fees will continue to accumulate on outstanding balances. Individuals and business customers can continue to contact us to access the support they need via the Contact Centre, their Personal Banker or Relationship Manager.

"Over the past two weeks, our personalised approach has resulted in a number of satisfactory solutions being taken up by customers, from our SME segment to larger commercial entities, as well as Tourism and Agricultural support. Many individual customers in our Retail segment have successfully contacted us and made provision for the foreseeable future already. In these times, personalized support is important, each customer is valued, and we are committed to taking the time to ensure adequate, affordable help where customers need it most," shared Tjipuka.

"The bank continues to work with the Bank of Namibia on a variety of solutions aimed at supporting consumers and businesses through these difficult times, and FNB banked customers who have not yet contacted us, will soon be notified if they qualify for relief on our digital channels, with this process scheduled to go live within the next week," said Tjipuka.

"We commend efforts by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19 and interventions such as the Economic Stimulus and Relief Package. We will continue to do our part too, customer by customer," concluded Tjipuka.

For more information, please contact Elzita Beukes, Communications Manager at FNB at Elzita.Beukes@fnbnamibia.com.na

FNB branches now closed on Saturdays


17 April 2020 : FNB Namibia has announced that, as of this week, FNB branches will be closed on Saturdays to curb branch activities due to the COVID-19 lockdown period. This measurement will be in place until 5 May 2020. The FNB Contact Centre will be operational as per the operating hours should customers need to contact the bank urgently.

Rodney Forbes, FNB Executive Officer: Points of Presence: "As a responsible corporate citizen FNB Namibia wishes to support the Government in all efforts to curb and stem the spread of Covid-19. We thus seek solutions that have the least impact on our employees and customers, while at the same time assisting our Government's efforts in reducing the possibility of infections."

Forbes reminded customers to only where necessary visit their branch during the week, especially those businesses making use of deposit services. "Furthermore, we continue to encourage our customers to make use of FNB's wide range of digital banking opportunities available via the FNB App, Online Banking, Cellphone banking, Ewallet, ATMs and ADTs and cash withdrawals at preferred retailers."

FNB Namibia cuts interest rates


20 April 2020 : FNB Namibia has announced an interest rate reduction, following the Bank of Namibia's repo rate cut last week of another 100 basis points.

"The prime lending rate has been reduced 8.00%, while the home loan rate will decrease from 10.00% to 09.00%, effective from 20 April 2020," advised Elzita Beukes, FNB Communications Manager. Further changes have been made to the credit card rates which have been reduced to 12,80% for all the various credit card categories.

Beukes added that the bank decided to meet those customers dependent on interest income by cutting the investment and savings rates at lower than 1% change in the repo rate. "We know that many of our customers, such as senior citizens, are dependent on interest from our investment products to fund living expenses, and as such we cut at less than 1% on many of our investment products.

The repo rate cut by the regulator assists commercial banks to help their clients with their debt and saving onto their customers. "With this move we are able to help individuals and businesses during these uncertain times and hope that this will mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihood of our nation," concludes Beukes.

FNB Namibia provides relief to SMEs impacted by COVID-19


21 April 2020 : Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, First National Bank Namibia has been closely monitoring developments, with the view of provisionally restructuring its operations and solutions to meet the changing demands and minimising the impact of the pandemic.

FNB Namibia commends the Government of Namibia on its decision to invoke extreme social distancing (lockdown) and believes that the decision is a major step in the right direction towards containing the spread on the COVID-19, and drastically minimising its impact on our society and economy.

Philip Chapman, FNB Executive Officer for Commercial assured customers that in addition to putting in place the necessary precautionary measures to safeguard the health and safety of our customers, staff and vendors, FNB continued to reinforce their capacity to provide uninterrupted essential banking services which allow customers to do their everyday banking through our innovative digital channels and branches.

"We value your business and want to assure you that we are prioritising our ability to continue an uninterrupted service to you. We continuously seek solutions to meet the changing demands while minimising the impact of the pandemic for you and your business. We also believe that it is our responsibility is to help support our commercial customers whose finances have been impacted during this challenging period."

We are therefore pleased to announce our relief measures for SMEs with an annual turnover of less than N$10m and with initial lending facilities of less than N$5 million. In order to qualify, customers must have a good track record of honouring their payments prior to 1 March 2020.

These businesses are requested to go to the FNB App; Click on the COVID-19 icon and follow the easy process.

FNB Namibia cuts interest rates


22 April 2020: FNB Namibia has announced an interest rate reduction, following the Bank of Namibia's repo rate cut last week of another 100 basis points.

"The prime lending rate has been reduced 8.00%, while the home loan rate will decrease from 10.00% to 09.00%, effective from 25 April 2020," advised Elzita Beukes, FNB Communications Manager. Further changes have been made to the credit card rates which have been reduced to 12,80% for all the various credit card categories.

Beukes added that the bank decided to meet those customers dependent on interest income by cutting the investment and savings rates at lower than 1% change in the repo rate. "We know that many of our customers, such as senior citizens, are dependent on interest from our investment products to fund living expenses, and as such we cut at less than 1% on many of our investment products.

The repo rate cut by the regulator assists commercial banks to help their clients with their debt and saving onto their customers. "With this move we are able to help individuals and businesses during these uncertain times and hope that this will mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the livelihood of our nation," concludes Beukes.

Alternative channels: affordable and accessible to all


28 April 2020: "Over the past few years, FNB Namibia has focused on developing a strong financial service offering, with special emphasis on digitisation, says Rodney Forbes, Executive Officer: FNB Points of Presence. "This means that we are constantly finding ways and means to ensure that every customer of ours has access to banking services without a physical branch".

Forbes advised that the digitisation strategy of FNB has been successful thus far and has cemented the outlook by the bank that expanding and increasing its branch and ATM footprint is not part of the bank's overall digitalisation strategy. "We review our representation points and locations on a regular basis and take into account other offerings including digital banking technology such as USSD, Online banking and the FNB App, as well as the increasing availability of alternative channels such as Cash@Till, Ewallet@Till, and CashPlus where cash can be deposited and withdrawn, or Ewallets can be withdrawn at retailers in rural areas".

Forbes added that regulation around banking fees and the banks' desire to offer affordable banking solutions, meant that it was not feasible or viable for physical points of representation in towns such as Khorixas, Tsumkwe, Divundu, Oshivelo and Noordoewer.

He encouraged customers to make use of active alternative channels for their cash related transactions, digital channels for non-cash related banking such as statements.

FNB Namibia has more than 400 retailers countrywide who offer various forms of cash withdrawal services for either account holders or ewallet users through the Cash@Till and eWallet@Till services/channels. A small number of these merchants also offer limited deposit functionality into FNB bank accounts via the FNB CashPlus service. "In the case of Khorixas, for example, we have two such active merchants - Welwitchia fuel station which offers Cash@Till and Ewallet@Till withdrawal services and FiT IT where both withdrawal and (limited) deposit services through the FNB CashPlus service/channel are available", said Mr Forbes. These services can be accessed through both the cellphone or App banking - and cash and Ewallet withdrawal transactions are currently offered free of charge until June 2020.

"We have seen a steady increase of transactions by our customers at these alternative merchants and trust they will continue to make use of the great variety of banking channels on offer in remote towns around the country. All of these are designed to ensure that channels remain affordable and accessible to all Namibians," concluded Forbes.

FNB and Bokomo spreading HOPE


05 May 2020: FNB and Bokomo Namibia have partnered on a Food Drive initiative via the FNB Happiness Store which aims at alleviating hunger and assist the most vulnerable of our nation during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Revonia Kahivere, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Manager: "We know, that during these challenging socio-economic times, food security has become a fragile concept and our people have difficulty in accessing basic necessities every day this lockdown continues. FNB Namibia recently established a HOPE (Health Optimisation in Pandemic Emergency) button on our Happiness Store ( www.fnbhappinessstore.com.na ) and opened the opportunity for all to assist the HOPE fund support the government's fight against Covid-19 ."

Bokomo Namibia is offering bags of maize meal at a discounted price and will distribute these to desperate communities. "We ask all Namibians to lend a helping hand by purchasing bags of mielie meal online for those who need it most" said Nadia Lawrence, Head of Marketing at Bokomo Namibia.

Donations can be made from now until 31 May 2020. To make your donation, have your bank card details ready and click on the link: https://www.fnbhappinessstore.com.na/charity/bokomo-mielie-meal-initiative.

"The FNB HOPE Fund has committed to doubling up on all donations received. We hope that together we can collect at least N$100,000 towards this much needed Food Drive initiative" concluded Kahivere.

FNB Rental Index Shows Rental Rebound After Two-Years


18 May 2020: The FNB Rental Index for the first quarter of 2020 shows that overall residential rent prices rebounded from a two-year negative growth territory.

Frans Uusiku, FNB Market Research Manager explains that the Covid-19 lockdown is bound to paint a different picture when looking at quarter two of 2020. "Although we reached a 12-month average growth of 0.0% at the end of March, bringing the national monthly average rent price to N$ 7465, we know that the pandemic has disrupted business activity, resulting in job losses and reduced income for the most part of the labour force. This is bound to have a devastating effect on tenants and landlord cash flow going forward. We expect the rental market to hit a growth plateau in the second quarter before it reverts back to negative growth territory."

When looking at the first quarter of 2020, the FNB Rental Index states that the listed rental units were largely concentrated in the 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom segments, accounting for 43% and 32% of the overall listings, respectively. Uusiku adds that these rental units were only recorded in Windhoek where the rural-urban migration is relatively high compared to other towns. "This observation continues to affirm the existing imbalance between the demand and supply dynamics in the housing market, particularly in the medium to higher-end of the market. The overall improvement in the rental index was driven mainly by the 2-bedroom and more-than-3 bedrooms segments, which grew by 3% and 2% y/y, respectively."

Growth in deposits charged by landlords contracted by 32.1% y/y at the end of March 2020 compared to a growth of 11.8% y/y recorded during the same period of 2019. This brought the deposit to rent ratio to a 10-year record low of 5.8%. The last time Namibia experienced such a low deposit to rent-ratio was in 2009 during the global financial crisis. The contraction was notable across all the four rental segments with the 1, 2, and 3-bedroom units contracting by 22.4%, 39.8% and 33.2% y/y respectively, while the more-than-3 bedrooms segment contracted by 28.1% y/y at the end of March 2020. This implies that upfront tenancy deposit is becoming less of a requirement due to stifling economic conditions.

On the topic of rental yields, Uusiku stated that on an annual basis, rental yields edged up by 0.3 percentage points to 7.8%y/y at the end of March 2020. "This is consistent with the observed improvement in the overall rental index growth and continues to paint a lucrative picture of the Namibian rental market. Furthermore, it points to the fact that rent prices are growing at a relatively fast pace compared to growth in the house prices."

In conclusion, Uusiku stated that the residential rental market had nearly evaded the negative growth territory, recording a 12-month average growth of 0.0% at the end of March 2020 compared to a contraction of 5.2%y/y recorded over the same period of 2019. He added that this was likely to be reversed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated implementation of nation-wide lockdown effective 28 March 2020.

"While the impact of the COVID crisis and lockdown is not yet reflected in the data, the stark reality is likely to be reflected in the second quarter with a potential growth reversal in rent prices expected, as landlords may be forced to negotiate for discounted rent to remain afloat. Although evictions are currently banned during the lockdown, tenants whose livelihoods are directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown will have limited or no income to pay up rent for the remainder of the lockdown period. All in all, the advent of this pandemic serves as a stark reminder to households and businesses to shore up their emergency funds to ensure that they are better prepared to survive unexpected future events."

Mondesa Youth Opportunities Trust empowered to educate promising learners


18 May 2020: FNB handed over a donation of N$ 250 000 to the Mondesa Youth Opportunities Trust (MYO) which will be used to further the education of MYO students.

Neels Strijdom, MYO Manager and the beneficiary students expressed their gratitude with FNB's support as this enables MYO to continue providing an intensive after-school education programme in the Mondesa Township in Swakopmund, targeting Grade 4 through to Grade 8 learners that show ability and promise. Currently MYO is adhering to the stage 2 of COVID-19 lockdown guidelines for educations centres by providing quality e-learning for our students, as well as assignments that parents can come and fetch for students to do at home.

Strijdom: "We believe that by filling a critical education gap left by limitations within the conventional school system, we will better equip our learners with the necessary tangible and intangible skills required to excel and reach higher education opportunities. While we focus largely on academics (English, Mathematics and Reading), we also strive to educate the 'Whole Child' by also offering Music, Computer Skills Training and robust Life Skills courses to help our young learners navigate the difficulties of an impoverished community. Our aim is to develop a sound base of academic education, leadership skills; and to teach our learners to be good citizens of the future."

Revonia Kahivere, Manager: Corporate Social Investment reiterated FNB's commitment towards enhancing education and financial literacy and added: "At least a quarter of the FirstRand Namibia Foundation's budget is spent on educational support in the areas of Early Childhood Development, Merit achievements, Rural and Farm Schooling, and sport development, as a long-term partner to the Government's educational goals, and we will continue to assist communities where we can."

FNB, Bokomo, and Co-Feed Namibia partner on Bag of HOPE


19 May 2020: FNB, Bokomo Namibia and Co-Feed Namibia have partnered on a Food Drive initiative via the FNB Happiness Store which aims at alleviating hunger and assist the most vulnerable of our nation during the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Revonia Kahivere, FirstRand Namibia Foundation Manager: "We know, that during these challenging socio-economic times, food security has become a fragile concept and our people have difficulty in accessing basic necessities every day this lockdown continues. FNB Namibia recently established a HOPE (Health Optimisation in Pandemic Emergency) button on our Happiness Store ( www.fnbhappinessstore.com.na ) and opened the opportunity for all to assist the HOPE fund support the government's fight against Covid-19 ."

Bokomo Namibia is offering bags of maize meal at a discounted price and will distribute these to desperate communities. "We ask all Namibians to lend a helping hand by purchasing bags of mielie meal online for those who need it most" said Nadia Lawrence, Head of Marketing at Bokomo Namibia.

Co-Feed will assist with the distribution and identification of needy families. "We are happy and excited to be part of this great initiative with our partner FNB and Bokomo Namibia," says Linda Baumann. Project Co-Feed Namibia is a citizen-driven initiative whose purpose is to mobilise food supplies and other basic necessities for distribution to the needy. "With the assistance of volunteers, we managed to distribute food items to thousands that included: vulnerable households, orphanages and retrenched workers, old age homes, medical response teams and feeding schemes negatively impacted by the pandemic."

Donations can be made until 31 May 2020. To make your donation, have your bank card details ready and click on the link: https://www.fnbhappinessstore.com.na/charity/bokomo-mielie-meal-initiative.

"The FNB HOPE Fund has committed to doubling up on all donations received. We hope that together we can collect at least N$100,000 towards this much needed Food Drive initiative", concluded Kahivere.

FNB hands over N$1.5 million toward the National Disaster Relief Fund


02 June 2020: FNB, through the FirstRand Namibia Foundation Trust, has handed over a monetary contribution of N1.5 million to the Government in response to COVID-19 efforts. The funding aims at supporting the unemployed, small and large businesses and the procurement of essential goods such as food and medicine which positively impacts the economic upliftment of societies.

Magdalena Awases, Trustee of the FirstRand Namibia Foundation: "As a business operating in Namibia during these trying times, we appreciate and applaud the Government's efforts to set up the disaster relief fund aimed at supporting those in the greatest of need. FNB, as a leading end to end financial service provider in Namibia, believes that we have a key role to play in assisting to minimize the likelihood of transmission and its impact on society. We are incredibly proud of the level of resilience that the communities have demonstrated as they fight against the challenges that COVID-19 brings."

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila thanked everyone for their contributions and said she was happy to see that the support provided targeted a wide range of areas of support and issues in the form of provision to SME's, medical equipment, protective gear, hand sanitisers, humanitarian support which is all necessary as the disease is manifesting itself in the country. She encouraged all stakeholders to assist government to ensure that government remains afloat.

The FirstRand Namibia Group has boosted its Foundation's contribution to support the Government's efforts in combatting the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country through a variety of initiatives which include providing cashflow relief to individuals and businesses, in particular SMEs; supporting in the distribution of the government grant pay-outs; reduced banking fees for customers until the end of June; has established the HOPE Fund, and set a food drive initiative with Bokomo Namibia to help feed vulnerable and impacted families across the country. FNB Namibia has also already invested over M$6.5m in fees and charges reductions to support its customers, while also initiating instalment payment holidays to COVID-19 impacted customers, SMEs, and other large businesses.

First quarter house prices tumble further according to FNB Housing Index


09 June 2020: The FNB House Price Index posted a contraction of 5.9% y/y at the end of March 2020 compared to a contraction of 1.5% recorded over the same period of 2019.

"This brought the average national house price to a 5-year record low of N$1 038 577 as at March 2020" says Frans Uusiku, FNB Market Researcher. Although overall house prices in the central and coastal regions have remained buoyant, registering growth of 8.2% y/y and 7.2% y/y over the first quarter respectively, this was overshadowed by steep contractions of 18.7% y/y and 13.6% y/y recorded in the northern and southern regions respectively.

House price contractions in the northern and southern regions were observed in the small housing segment, while the small and medium housing segments were responsible for price growth in the central and coastal regions. "While we continue to view affordability of houses in the large and luxury segments as a stumbling issue, we see deferment in buying decisions in anticipation of a further drop in prices and an improvement in the delivery of land as some of the themes shaping the outlook for the residential property market" continues Uusiku.

The overall volume index also rebounded significantly by 2.0% y/y from -24.4% y/y in the prior quarter. However, this remains much lower than the 37.9% y/y growth recorded over the same period of 2019. We view the increasing concentration of transaction volumes in the small and medium segments and the emerging inverse relationship between overall price and volume growth as indicative of properties selling at prices below valuation.

The flurry of trading activity in the small and medium housing segments is becoming a new normal in the Namibian residential property market. This could be ascribed to affordability issues and inherent high levels of income inequality that are compounded by a smaller population. Henceforth, whether property investment is still regarded as Safe Haven in the context of current economic conditions is becoming a recurring theme.

"The outlook for property prices looks bleak from a market perspective as widespread job losses and income uncertainty induced by COVID-19 do not bode well for demand", says Uusiku.

Although data contained within the report is unlikely to reflect the economic impact of COVID-19, second quarter activity will likely print lower home sales figures, which may exert further downward pressure on price growth. This is because of sales cancellations experienced due to lockdown and subsequent closure of the Deeds Office in April. Furthermore, the notable improvement in land delivery for housing is poised to keep residential property prices at bay as potential new house owners sees a penetrative market opportunity through purchasing of land.

FNB Namibia announces Temporary Swakopmund Branch Closure


18 June 2020: FNB Namibia disclosed a necessary health and safety measure action in temporarily shutting down its Swakopmund branch for two days beginning Friday 19 June 2020, as a precaution to protect staff and customers from possible COVID19 infection.

Namibia's COVID19 Case 39, has been identified as a close relative of an FNB Swakopmund staff member. The staff member, a relative of Case 39, is undergoing testing with results pending.

To date the branch and its customers have been compliant with WHO and local COVID19 sanitisation guidelines, with hands sanitised before entering the branch premises, social distancing measures, as well as strict adherence to the wearing of masks in public spaces.

However, as a proactive stance to eliminate any doubts and offer peace of mind to our staff, clients, stakeholders and communities, FNB Namibia has temporarily sent all Swakopmund branch staff home, closed the branch for Friday 19 and Saturday 20 June 2020 and has commissioned a full sanitisation of the branch premises over this period.

The branch will reopen on Monday 22nd, fully sanitised and staffed with a new staff complement which has not been in contact with the staff member whose family member is COVID19 positive.

Along with the precautionary disinfecting and decontaminating the branch, all staff will be isolated for the interim, and will be tested if the affected staff member is tested positive. Currently, no FNB staff member has tested positive. Clients who may have been exposed to the staff member under investigation, will be contacted via the Ministry of Health's COVID19 response team for screening questions and if necessary, thereafter, testing.

Said Erwin Tjipuka, CEO FNB Namibia, 'Staff and customer safety is paramount to us, and although no positive case has been confirmed, precautionary measures are the only current weapon we have in fighting any suspected spread of the virus. Our thoughts are with all those affected by COVID19 impacts, our staff and their family members, our customers and their own families across the country, and especially with those who have contracted this terrible disease. Customers and staff should know, that where we can help, we will, and that we are grateful for our staff and customers' understanding and partnership during these challenging times.'

FNB Namibia was one of the first financial institutions to ensure staff and customer safety at all operating premises, strict adherence to sanitisation, mask-wearing and social distancing rules countrywide. FNB Namibia is a founder funder of the HOPE Fund (Health optimisation in a Pandemic Emergency), which Fund has committed more than N$10m to date to support the Namibia's pandemic preparations.

Bag of Hope Initiative Hands Over Donations


25 June 2020: RMB Namibia, through the HOPE initiative of FirstRand Namibia, recently handed over N$166 000 consisting of N$60 000 worth of maize, N$24 800 of pasta, N$26 400 of Weetbix, N$40 200 of cornflakes, N$4 300 of juice, and N$11 000 worth of soup packets to vulnerable families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FirstRand Namibia established the 'Bag of Hope' initiative under their HOPE Fund in April 2020 and partnered with Bokomo Namibia and Co-Feed Namibia to feed the needy and the most vulnerable families in Namibia, whose impoverished situation has been exacerbated by COVID-19.

Through the Bag of Hope initiative, Bokomo Namibia offered bags of maize meal and other food stuffs at a discounted price, while Co-Feed Namibia will assist in the distribution and identification of needy families. Giving was facilitated through the online FNB Happiness Store, with the FirstRand Namibia Foundation doubling all proceeds collected.

At the handover ceremony, Conrad Dempsey of RMB Namibia said, RMB believed that their responsibility stretched further than just keeping their essential services functioning for clients. "As an ethical corporate citizen, we are committed to doing more. We believe in the power of partnerships. We are working closely with government, the business community, philanthropists and society on a number of initiatives to address the immediate needs and help arrest the future impact of COVID-19 on our country and its people."

Hubertus Hamm, Bokomo CEO thanked RMB for considering Bokomo Namibia as a partner to this great initiative: "The whole world has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and this has also greatly affected the job security of many Namibians, leaving countless unemployed. We trust this assistance will help them overcome the current difficult situation. I am fully convinced that the Bokomo/RMB relationship will be a fine example of partnerships among businesses and that we can build on this partnership going forward."

Linda RM Baumann, Co-Feed Namibia Representative advised that Co-Feed Namibia is a citizen-driven initiative whose purpose is to mobilize food supplies and other necessities for distribution to the vulnerable within the Namibian communities in response to the impact by the Covid-19 pandemic. "Co-Feed Namibia would like to applaud the efforts made today for the collectiveness in social responsibility and corporate responsibility paid forward to fellow Namibians during these tough times. As Namibians we are aware of the realities our communities face. However, this pandemic has doubled the needs of people's livelihood as the impact of this virus has evidently affected incomes, basic essentials of food and the need for cleaning material or clothes."