Pick ’n Pay, in a joint venture with Nedbank, launched a new banking offering called Pick ’n Pay Go Bank-ing.
The new financial solution was based on the principle of going with the market transition of better service, lower costs and less time spent at banks.
“Banks are under constant scrutiny by consumers and now government, and facing relentless criticism due to high costs and perceived unsatisfactory service,” says Pick ’n Pay Go Banking CEO Kevin Palmer.
He says that supermarket banking is not a new concept in countries like the US and Europe which has Tesco and Sainsbury’s, which have pierced fiercely into the consumer markets abroad.
Some writers have attempted to explain the new concept in North America as the grocer acting like a Trojan horse for banks to expand into new geographic areas.
Locally, however, Nedbank is using this joint venture to expand into the middle-income bracket.
“Because Nedbank is positioned very strongly at the upper end of the market, it has relatively weak rep-resentation in the middle-income market,” Palmer explains.
He says that Nedbank wanted to tap into the middle-income bracket but without huge infrastructure costs.
“Pick ’n Pay, on the other hand, was involved in financial services but, realising this was not a core com-petence, looked for a bank to provide the necessary expertise,” he says.
These two initiatives brought Pick ’n Pay and Nedbank together. Pick ’n Pay provides the consumer infrastructure and staff, whereas Nedbank provides the banking expert- ise, systems and banking infrastruc-ture.
“Now, Nedbank has access to Pick ’n Pay’s five-million customers a year in some 250 stores nationwide,” Palmer enthuses.
This new bank, created by a retail chain and a bank, aims to provide cus- tomers with a new banking solution that will enable them to use a Maes- tro or MasterCard nationally and inter-nationally as well as Internet bank-ing and telephone banking.
“By using an existing infrastructure we are able to offer a product that is significantly cheaper than any other bank.
“Whereas banks have traditionally been branch-focused, supermarket banking will enable more consumers to have access to sophisticated banking products, but at lower cost.” Customers are able to draw money while paying for their groceries and instore service representatives will be able to assist with any account en-quiries.
The success of this new concept is evident in that this new bank has a current customer base of 130 000, with 85 000 actively transacting.
Further, with Old Mutual being a significant shareholder in Nedbank, Go Banking will soon launch insurance and investment-type products.
“We have also created an initiative where Go Banking clients get money back for using their cards to buy various instore products,” Palmer con- cludes.