The 2022 instalment of the Asian Banker Excellence in Retail Financial Services International Awards 2022 has seen Nedbank crowned Best Retail Bank in Africa and South Africa as well as the Best Bank for SMEs in Africa. The accolades come on the back of an in-depth independent assessment by a panel of international advisers using a comprehensive scorecard covering everything from strategy and financial performance to customer satisfaction, risk optimisation and digitisation.
According to Ciko Thomas, Group Managing Executive: Nedbank Retail and Business Banking, the awards validate the extensive work that has been put in recent years by both Nedbank Retail and Nedbank Small Business Services into enhancing their client value propositions to delivering banking experiences that add tangible value to their lives and businesses
In the Retail Banking space, evidence of this value has come in the form of a steady improvement in all major client metrics in 2021. Nedbank increased its share of main banked clients from 11,2% in 2021 to 12,4% in 2022 over the same period*, building further on the steady growth it has experienced in this regard since 2018. Nedbank also deepened its retail client relationships, as evidenced by the steady growth in its cross-sell ratio (a measure of the number of products per client), which increased from 1,78 in 2020 to 1,86 in 2021. All this helped Nedbank grow its Retail Banking revenues by 6,4% in 2022, the second fastest growth among South Africa’s big 5 retail banks.
“This steady growth in retail client numbers and cross-sell ratio is not only a consequence of the consistent effort we have put into improving our sales performance and reducing client attrition through innovative lifecycle management initiatives,” Thomas says, “it also reflects the growing appeal of Nedbank’s retail banking offering, which leverages a platform banking approach with a digital empowerment focus to enhance the finances and lives of our clients.”
And the same is true of Nedbank’s progress as a trusted, value-adding partner to small and medium businesses. “One of the biggest challenges for most SMEs is difficulty accessing funding to grow their operations, and Nedbank has been determined to help resolve this challenge,” Thomas says, “as evidenced by our Nedbank Small Business Services division advancing R4 billion in funding to SME clients during 2021.”
The bank also recently began offering pre-approved small business overdraft facilities, which have been very well received. And a digital lending strategy uses an automated scorecard to approve unsecured loans up to R1,5 million to support sole proprietors and formalised small businesses. These pre-approved loan facilities are available through a fully digital application and fulfilment processes requiring no lengthy admin processes and limited documentation.
Thomas believes that Nedbank’s digitisation commitment is playing a key part in cementing its leadership position. “In 2021, the number of Nedbank Retail clients who were digitally active grew to 33% of our total retail client base,” he says, “powered by a strong year-on-year increase in clients who use the Nedbank Money app from 1 million in 2020 to 1,4 million in 2021. We have also significantly grown the proportion of sales we complete via digital channels to 32% of our total annual sales by value, which reflects the consumer appeal and success of our ‘digital-first, first in digital’ market strategy.”
The bank’s clients have also responded very well to the enhancements and additions that Nedbank has made, as evidenced by the significant improvement in Nedbank Retail’s Net Promoter Score which rose to 46,7 in 2021, from 40,8 in 2020, continuing the seven-year upward trend of this important metric.
“We have worked tirelessly to enhance our client value proposition and we have launched several exciting and very well-received products in 2021,” he says, “including simplified and highly affordable life insurance and funeral cover solutions called MyCover Life and MyCover Funeral and a Gold Credit Card with a competitive monthly fee of just R40 per month.”
For small business clients, Nedbank’s enhanced offering includes an SME start-up bundle with an array of features, including free banking to qualifying clients for the first 6 months, assuming a basket of <20 transactions per month. Clients also benefit from a simplified and seamless digital application process that facilitates instant onboarding with minimal administrative requirements.
“The vision of Nedbank is to deliver holistic financial services that go ‘Beyond Banking,” Thomas says, “and these awards are confirmation that our efforts in this regard are adding real value to our retail and business clients.”