While the immediate health threat of the Covid-19 pandemic has largely been brought under control in most parts of the world, people across the globe continue to be impacted massively by socioeconomic aftershocks. Economies and household finances remain under pressure. Unemployment figures continue to climb. And those businesses that have
not succumbed to the trade constraints of national lockdowns, are now faced with the overwhelming task of restoring their revenues and returning to financial stability.
The early recognition by the country’s banks of the important role they had to play in helping individuals, families and business of all sizes survive the economic challenges of Covid-19 proved to be a lifeline for many South Africans over the past few months. This was evident from the overwhelming response to the various financial relief measures made available by Nedbank, and the others, at the height of the pandemic.
This response highlights the important role that banks must play in underpinning the financial ecosystem of the country as a whole
Importantly, though, this role is not only required during times of crisis. If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is that banks are integral to the longterm economic recovery of the country, and of all South Africans – particularly the next generation of consumers, employees, and business leaders who are understandably concerned about what that the future may hold for them.
For Nedbank, delivering on this responsibility demands a combination of a genuine commitment to the wellbeing of people and ongoing investment into digital platforms that make it possible to convert that commitment into future enhancing actions. This is particularly true in terms of the responsibility we have as a bank to enable and drive the development of a future economy and society that will become the reality for today’s young people. We are acutely aware of the imperative that exists for businesses today to create a legacy that South Africa’s youth will be proud to inherit, and that will afford them the solid foundations on which to build the brighter future that they envisage and desire.
For us, this is the ultimate goal, and imperative, of the significant digital transformation of industry today. The massive global impact of Covid-19 brought home the plain truth that every business in the world, including Nedbank, has an immediate and urgent responsibility to radically transform itself, not just for the benefit of future generations, but in partnership with them.
To this end, we are investing massively into leveraging digital solutions, and partnering with the brightest young minds, not just in financial services, but in many industries and social spheres. We do this with a singular goal in mind – to fulfil our social mission by providing authentic money strategies that help people manage their money better and, at the same time, to make our products and services readily available across all channels so that people can achieve the money outcomes they need to create the futures they deserve.
With this objective in mind, one of Nedbank’s first responses to Covid-19 was to launch a digital portal called together.nedbank to help clients manage the impacts of the crisis on their lives and finances. The portal focuses on giving consumers helpful, non-product-related ontent and information, which would provide guidance, alleviate uncertainty, anxiety and distress during this period. The fact that the digitisation of these solutions and processes provided a sense of comfort to our clients was a valuable reminder of how, in the future, we must ensure that we leverage digital advances fully to deliver highly personalised services with an empathetic human touch.
Another vital lesson delivered to banks by Covid-19 is the imperative that we all increase our efforts to be far more than just financial institutions. Given the pivotal position we hold within society and the economic ecosystems of the country, we have a real responsibility to act as an enabler of lifestyle aspirations. Nedbank was quick to recognise the opportunity we had to leverage digital solutions to help South Africans overcome their lockdown challenges.
And we met this responsibility by bringing forward the launch of our Avo platform – a bespoke e-commerce platform with a difference. In addition to meeting client needs for essential services during lockdown, the super app offers a range of value-adding products and services, all delivered seamlessly through strategic partnerships with trusted service providers.
Our dedicated Nedbank youth banking and lifestyle offering, Unlocked.Me also came into its own during the lockdown period, ensuring that the country’s young people could still remain connected to their unique lifestyle requirements, and providing a valuable digital conduit to job opportunities, mentors, coaches and online courses.
While Covid-19 has been as challenging for Nedbank as it has for all other businesses, it has also served to validate our long-held commitment to constant digital innovation as a key way to meet the requirements of our own social contract, particularly towards young people, while also differentiating ourselves from competitors through the delivery of lifeenhancing, client-focused banking services and solutions. We believe that the banking of the future must be built on this type of integrated approach that combines digital excellence with unwavering commitment to human development. Interestingly enough, these are two elements that most young people also consider priorities for a better future, which is why we will continue to partner with tomorrow’s leaders, pioneers, innovators and industry champions to fully understand their vision of the future, and then work with them to fully leverage our digital transformation in order to realise it.