Jason Snyman
3 minute read
9 Feb 2018
3:39 pm

Which is SA’s most valuable bank?

Jason Snyman

The Banker has released its 2018 Top 500 Most Valuable Banking Brands. Which bank tops the South African banking list?

Image: Shutterstock.

According to The Banker’s 2018 ranking of the Top 500 Banking Brands in the world, First National Bank has been named South Africa’s most valuable banking brand.

FNB toppled last year’s favourite, Standard Bank, to claim the top spot. Standard Bank had previously held the title for two years in a row. So what sets FNB apart? What makes them the most valuable banking brand in the land?

First National Bank

A division of First Rand Limited, FNB is one of South Africa’s big four banking institutes. According to the FNB website, it is the oldest bank in South Africa, tracing its origins back to the Eastern triocrees Province Bank of 1838.

But, we don’t need to go into the history. FNB is a household name that we’re all familiar and comfortable with. Its little surprise then, that The Banker has declared it our most valuable banking brand. These findings were also corroborated by Brand Finance in their 2018 report.

FNB managed to increase its brand valuation by 23% since last year and have climbed 16 places in the global ranking. Capitec, on the other hand, soared 56 places, making it the 18th fastest climber in the world. Still, FNB’s climb remains substantial. Standard Bank, by comparison, experienced a 10% drop in brand value. It was the only SA brand to wither.

So, how did FNB do it? Speaking to The Banker, FNB’s Faye Mfikwe said;

“We understand what is important to our customers and aim to address these elements at every touch point – products, services and channels – with the aim of delivering against our brand promise.”

FNB’s core principle is ‘How can we help you?’ and has positioned itself as just that – the helpful bank. The brand measures its success by how much it resonates with customers, instead of pushing short term sales.

Despite the slower, more curated approach over at FNB – as opposed to the monstrous growth of say, Capitec – it remains the bank of choice for the middle to upper-middle income markets.

“In an independent measure of all banking advertisements that ran over the same period,” says Mfikwe. “Ours was rated as the one that generated the best emotional connection with customers, in an authentic way.”

South Africa And The World

South Africa’s banking system, as a whole, was ranked by The Banker as the 26th most valuable in the world. Our banks have a total brand value of R85.8 billion ($7.14 billion) which is up 9% from R79.3 billion ($6.6 billion) last year.

The top spot was awarded to China, followed by the US and the UK.

According to the Brand Finance report, brand strength is the ‘efficacy of a brand’s performance on intangible measures, relative to its competitors.’

Factors considered include:

  • Marketing investment;
  • Stakeholder equity;
  • The impact of those on business performance.

In this report, no South African bank featured in the Top 100. The closest was FNB, coming in at 141 on the list. This was followed by ABSA at 143 and Standard Bank at 144.

Read more at CompareGuru

South Africa as a country slipped in rankings in the report since the previous year, dropping two places to number 43. Jeremy Sampson of Brand Finance said that a key factor in our drop is all the negative local and international media coverage. Our ethical standards have plummeted.

“Zuma, the Guptas and their associates have created an environment where multinational companies have found it possible to push the local ethical boundaries – it would seem without the knowledge of their international parents – and so moving around huge amounts of money.”

“Implicated to date are Bell Pottinger, KPMG and McKinsey, all working with government agencies. This all has a negative impact on the standing of the country brand. It is also a very dangerous situation, as further slippage increasingly becomes a red flag to existing and potential inward investment.”

Right. Sigh. Anyway. Moving on