FNB Smart Device and Banking Satisfaction

First National Bank FNB Smart DevicesRecently I made the last payment on my FNB Smart Device, an Apple iPad 2 purchased in 2011. It feels much longer because Apple released several iPad models since that time like the iPad Air and iPad Mini. During the time I really wanted a tablet because I  see myself as an early adopter.

Another part of me was competing with my ex-girlfriend who had her own iPad 2 for a while. Due to bad financial planning I needed cash, so instead I sold my iPad and continued to pay First National Bank (FNB) until now. Either way their Smart Device product offering is a superb offering for first time buyers of smartphones and tablets.

Few banks have pushed innovation as much as FNB has in the last 10 years. In 1997 I worked on the team to launch their online banking to the world at Internet Solution. In 2003 I was part of the team who managed their IT Security. But back in 1980s I became a customer because my mother was a staff member at a local branch in Port Elizabeth.

In reflecting upon my long history with FNB, I am cannot recommend any bank more highly for innovation and technology use.

Here’s 5 Ways FNB Helped Me

  1. Using Internet Banking since 1997 I avoided going to the branch for simple things like bank statements
  2. Mobile banking helped me to check balances without using Internet
  3. Mobile banking helped me to purchase airtime for my mobile phone
  4. Internet and mobile banking made it easy for me to send money to people without knowing their bank accounts
  5. Social media customer support has helped me avoid calling call centres in 8 out 10 times!

This bank is superior to most worldwide in it’s transparency. Even though my mother retired five years ago, we both remain loyal customers of the bank. Every now and then I find myself lecturing people on the benefits of FNB because of this life long experience. As with any big business, individuals may experience difference in service levels. However, I look at the total experience over 30 years, and given my insiders perspective as a staff member, I will remain a happy customer for the next 30 years.


Small Businesses Need A Corporate Social Responsibility Plan

If you are a small-business owner, you may think that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is something that only large corporations have to worry about. While it is true that major multinationals are putting increasing focus on this due to issues such as the escalating global focus on sustainability, CSR is not something that small companies can afford to ignore.

There are a number of reasons for this. Perhaps the most compelling is that as large companies implement their own CSR policies, they need their suppliers to have similar CSR initiatives in place – otherwise these multinational brands cannot claim to be socially responsible. This extends into many different areas, ranging from community engagement through to sustainability – for a broad range of insights, find out more on francescocoralloitalia.wordpress.com.

SME need corporate social responsibilityThe sooner that you start to create a CSR policy, the sooner you can start to lay a foundation to grow your business. This is not just about making it onto the approved supplier lists of big companies – although that is an important aspect. It is also about being able to attract business partners and other customers who view corporate responsibility as an essential criterion when establishing business relationships. It can also help you to attract employees who think that CSR is important – which you want to do, since these employees are typically more dedicated and diligent than those in the general labor pool. In fact, a study by the Center for Creative Leadership concluded that, “employees’ perceptions of their organizations concern for community and environment is linked to their level of organizational commitment … that is, the higher an employee rates their organization’s corporate citizenship, the more committed they are to the organization.”

Before you embark on putting a CSR program in place, you need to make sure that you are genuinely committed to the principle. Implementing an effective CSR initiative can be a significant effort as it needs to be embedded into the essential DNA of your company. In addition, unless you can demonstrate this genuine commitment, you are not going to see the benefits of your investment – customers, partners and employees will find it easy to pick up on any insincerity.

small business social responsibilityThere are a number of things that you need to keep in mind when implementing your CSR program. First of all, you need results to be measurable, and the yardstick needs to be something that everyone recognizes. Look for an internationally recognized standard that is relevant to your business, and make sure that certification is available. This could cover any one of a number of metrics – including sustainable sourcing, carbon footprint, waste recycling or community engagement. Next, look at your company’s culture and skills, and determine how you can lead in unique ways – this will make your CSR programs stand out, as well as making it easier to implement. Remember that imposing a top down CSR program rarely works – instead, you need to get the buy in and support all of your employees. Finally, only start to reach out once your baseline is in place – this will let you demonstrate to stakeholders that you have already made progress on your own.

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Nelson Mandela, The Leader I Never Met

Nelson Mandela RIP 1918-2013A long time ago, I missed an opportunity to meet our late, great leader, Nelson Mandela. This morning I woke up in China to find out he died 🙁 Nelson Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and politician who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, only one term! He was the first black South African to hold the office after the end of Apartheid.

This morning in China English news channel CCTV is totally focused on reporting on the death of Nelson Mandela. The Chinese coverage of this pivotal event in world history is a happy and sad moment. South African Anand Naidoo, is one of the news anchors for CCTV America. His personal stories adds a touch of humanity to the news coverage. Mandela first visited China in 1992 and also in in the first official state visit as president in 1999. He received an honorary Doctorate of Law from Peking University.

On that morning back in high school I was a typical teenager. I was lazy and and did not realise the huge impact this leader would continue to have on my country. His voice came over the loud speaker from a nearby school as he was on the campaign trail for our first democratic elections. The significance of this opportunity was lost on me at the time, and I repeat this story very often when sharing my own story as a South African. With my mother I later voted in the first democratic elections on 27 April 1994, the result of Nelson Mandela’s 27 year prison struggle in Robben Island near Cape Town.

As I’m writing on this blog, I’m at a loss for words. There are not many South Africa in Ningbo, and I’ve only met three others. However, several Chinese people and one friend from Yemen, all told me stories of their visit to my home country. These stories were all gentle reminders of the good-will I believe is derived from the post-Apartheid leadership of Nelson Mandela.

After I completed my BSc degree in Port Elizabeth, I moved to Johannesburg in 1997. One of the first books I read at this time was A Long Walk To Freedom, the autobiography of Nelson Mandela. This book was just recently turned into a movie starring Idris Elba I have yet to watch. Almost 20 years after “democracy” most South Africa are not only devastated by this loss, but also about the poor leadership we currently have in president Jacob Zuma, almost the opposite of Nelson Mandela.

Maybe the best book I ever read about Nelson Mandela is: Leading Like Madiba by Martin Kalunga-Banda. In 2009 I was very fortunate to meet the author of this book in Bloemfontein, South Africa at an ISASA National Conference.

Just before I left South Africa to China, Mandela was released from after about 3 months in hospital. I told many people I’ve met in Ningbo, Beijing and Shanghai, it was a sign, a good omen, for me to go ahead and leave South Africa. So I’m humble, grateful and very proud to remember the leader I never met.

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