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FirstRand takes a leaf from Amazon’s book to capture consumers

FirstRand is emulating Amazon.com with a digital offering that will span everything from insurance, car license renewals to locating plumbing services as the South African bank chases new revenue sources.

Africa’s biggest lender by market value is pushing customers to make more use of its mobile-banking applications by extending the services it offers through “applets” within the main interface, Chief Executive Officer Alan Pullinger said in an interview at Bloomberg’s Johannesburg offices.

These include connecting home buyers and sellers, house valuations, tracking an investment portfolio or linking its business clients to consumers.

“We’re wanting to become more of an Amazon-like business, which is a platform player,” rather than an operation like Walmart that relies on physical branches, the CEO said. “We want to solve for everything, your financial wellness. We see runway for ourselves with our strategy.”

Revenue at FirstRand has grown at double the pace of its three largest Johannesburg-based African peers in the past five years, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Pullinger, 53, attributed that to improving the number of products used across 8 million clients, a jump in transactional volumes, and increased use of the app of its consumer unit, First National Bank, which saw a 65% surge in transactions in the year through June.

Fin24 Reporter

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