VENTURES AFRICA – South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB), a division of FirstRand Limited, has been rated as the most innovative bank in the world.
The announcement was made in Washington DC at the recently concluded BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards, were the winning financial institutions were chosen from more than 150 entries from over 30 countries for breakthrough innovations that positively impact banks and their customers.
The awards which is in its second year is run by BAI and Infosys, with winners chosen by an independent panel comprising “prominent industry thought-leaders, academics and retail banking professionals” from around the world, according to the official site.
Marketwire reports the panel praised the South African lender’s innovative culture, noting that the bank runs an internal competition that formally encourages and supports innovation, empowering business units within the bank to innovate through leadership buy-in and advocacy.
“Effectively, every employee can be an innovator and can change the way we conduct business,” FNB CEO Michael Jordaan said in a statement. “This is an inversion of the historical top-down application of corporate strategies.
The bank’s eWallet, a mobile money transfer solution launched in 2009 which allows customers to send money to anyone in South Africa with a valid mobile phone number, was also named as a finalist in the Product/Service Innovation category of the competition.
In April, FNB announced that since the launch of the service, more than one million eWallet accounts had been created, with a total of over 1.6 billion rand ($185 million) in the accounts.
The innovative bank followed up on eWallet by launching its banking application in July 2011, giving customers easy access to their accounts online through smartphones and tablet computer devices.
Since then, the interface of the FNB Banking Application has been regularly enhanced to widen target audience and give customers more functionality.