FirstRand has reported its financial results for the year ended June 2013, noting 20% growth in normalised earnings to R15.3 billion, up from R12.7 billion in 2012.
FirstRand’s main retail and commercial division, FNB, contributed the largest portion to the group’s earnings, reporting a 22% rise in normalised earnings to R8.16 billion, up from R6.67 billion in 2012.
FirstRand declared a final dividend of 81 cents, bringing the full year dividend to 136 cents per share, up 33% from 102 cents in 2012.
“These results are particularly pleasing given how challenging the operating environment has been with all three of FirstRand’s operating franchises, FNB, RMB and WesBank, delivering strong operational performances, characterised by excellent topline growth and superior returns,” said FirstRand CEO, Sizwe Nxasana.
“FNB continued to focus on its strategy to acquire customers, grow loans and deposits and drive transactional volumes across all of its platforms, particularly electronic,” he said.
FNB’s strong performance was attributed to the bank’s shift in strategy to become the leading electronic and mobile financial house.
FNB has seen the addition of 1.1 million active accounts in the reporting period, 542,000 of which were core transactional accounts, amounting to an 8% increase, year-on-year.
FirstRand said that the jump in accounts was gained through “offering a compelling value proposition to the customer”, which are supported by its rewards programmes, such as eBucks, SLOW lounges and fuel, data and airtime rewards.
“Innovations such as the banking app, cellphone banking and eWallet also continued to attract and retain customers,” FirstRand said.
According the FNB CEO, Michael Jordaan, the bank has seen its eWallet uptake increase by 72% to 1.8 million users over the past year.
Total eBucks and reward payouts to customers amounted to R723 million over the past financial year – an increase of 32%, according to the banking head.
These latest results mark the final financial reporting for Jordaan, as the CEO is set to step down as head of FNB at the end of 2013.
Jacques Celliers, who is currently the CEO of FNB Business Banking and head of FNB’s India expansion, has been appointed to succeed him.
In July 2013, FNB went live with its new look banking website, which updated the site’s visual and systems, as well as making access to digital banking scalable across all platforms.
In launch month, the site topped 3 million unique visitors for first time, up 35% year-to-date, according to the bank.
FNB currently has over 590,000 active Banking App users, and the bank anticipates that it will reach 600,000 active users by the end of September.