Financial services company FNB has announced low-cost energy solutions for consumers ranging from R149 ($8.15 US) a month. Customers will have access to a range of alternative energy and back-up power solutions on the FNB mobile application (app) and can pay for these over a 24-month period.
The service, which was revealed on March 27, is enabled through FNB Connect, with the bank promising customers would soon receive preapproved offers for these options too.
The entire process is fully digitised and accessible through the bank’s platform. This is an opportunity for customers who may not have the funds available to buy a solution outright for their energy needs.
In addition, FNB announced that customers could now apply for a solar energy loan financed through a new or existing home loan. This will enable customers to apply for a loan starting at R50 000 and going up to 15% of their home’s value to finance the installation of a solar energy system from a prescreened list of approved renewable energy service providers.
The customer’s property valuation will be increased to cater for the future installation of the solar energy system, FNB explained. The amount of the solar energy loan will be added to the customer’s bond and recorded as a single loan at interest rates that align with their credit profile.
FNB will then pay the deposit directly to the supplier upfront, so the customer will not be out of pocket unless there is a difference between the approved loan amount and the cost of the renewable energy solution selected by the customer, in which case the customer would have to pay the difference or select a more affordable solution.
The new solar energy loan solution was announced as an addition to existing ones, such as the ecoEnergy home loan solution, which was introduced in 2021 and has so far paid out R970-million.
FNB also introduced a new Energy feature on the FNB app to help customers with information and a selection of alternative solutions.
The launch of the added service comes amid the modernising of FNBs platform and value proposition to provide customers with helpful, easy, and safe financial service, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers said at the launch.
This launch comes after FNB recently carried out a brand redesign, along with adding digital interfaces, payment experiences, and advice-led helpful orientation to integrated financial services. The next area of focus is on reimagining the ways in which it responsibly helps individuals and businesses with access to credit to meet their needs.
“We are proud of our continued innovations with respect to credit – helping first-time home buyers with improved affordability and access to government-backed mortgage solutions or pioneering multi-solution scoring capabilities for small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), all in a single in-app process.
“The efficiency of our platform and digital interface experiences are instrumental in our efforts, as customers can access help in a few clicks, 24/7, with no hassles or paperwork,” Celliers said.
He said that, in this regard, FNB had 32-million preapproved offers on its digital platform in January alone, with 80% of all preapproved loans paid out to customers within ten minutes.
In addition to the new energy-centred loan services, Celliers highlighted the Bounce Back Loan, which is on track to fund R1-billion in Bounce Back Loans to SMEs by May.
The Bounce Back Loan, which has a government guarantee and low interest rates, was designed to help SMEs affected by the lockdown, unrest and floods. To date, FNB has extended nearly R900-million in Bounce Back Loans.
FNB also announced a new standalone Aspire credit card that allows customers to earn eBucks rewards and access Slow Lounges when they buy tickets through eBucks Travel.
Customers can also create a virtual card that is stored on the FNB App, with some virtual card purchases qualifying for Purchase Protect – insurance that covers items against theft and damage.
The card is available for a monthly fee of R42. The overall Aspire value proposition for middle-income customers was recently recognised in an independent report as a market-leading solution in terms of value for money, Celliers said.
In addition, FNB highlighted its Fusion account with a starting credit limit of R1 000, which allows new customers to build up their credit record.
This transactional account is designed to assist customers with their day-to-day banking and has a credit facility for emergencies with no interest for 30 days. In addition, customers earn more eBucks and have access to credit card equivalent benefits, such as travel insurance.
“As a responsible financial institution, we are committed to making a positive impact in society, and we recognise the challenging impacts of the current economic environment on our customers.
“Our aim is to provide customers with ongoing support to help them realise their individual, family and business aspirations. We intend to do this through our extensive range of needs-based solutions,” Celliers said.