Lesley-Anne van Wyk In line with efforts to contribute positively to the Namibian business environment, First National Bank officially opened another set of its doors, this time at the extended Maerua Mall, to the public this week. The keynote speaker at the opening, Deputy Minister of Finance Tjekero Tweya, highlighted the importance of the event against the backdrop of the country’s finance sector. He was joined by the CEO of FNB, Leonard Haynes. Both agreed that FNB’s dedication to service and customer satisfaction is reflected in the opening of the new branch. The Deputy Minister went on to congratulate the bank by saying that he noticed with great admiration “that the current philosophy of ‘How can we help you?’ shows the commitment to walk that extra mile in the banking industry.” Haynes said that the new branch “ties in neatly with our culture of sales and service excellence”. Tweya spoke of the current need for businesses to take a more active role in the generation of national wealth, and in so doing uplift the economy and improve the business climate in the country. He added, “It is only through such generation of national wealth that we can create employment opportunities for our people and in turn pay taxes.” Aside from enabling the country to effectively deal with poverty and unemployment, the deputy minister also mentioned the role business plays in fostering job security. The Deputy Minister spoke about the need for reinvestment in communities in order to improve the lives of Namibians. He said: “We are all duty-bound to help redress the imbalances of the past and can do so by forging public/private partnerships.” This, he said, should take priority because not only is it good business sense but also because if banks were to reinvest in the community they would “stimulate economic activities which result in people returning to support your business through improved loan applications, over-draft facilities and transactions in banking halls and ATM’s”. Long-term corporate social responsibility programmes were praised by Tweya, as well as the position private sector companies have in imparting skills to community initiatives and the development of SME’s. He made an example of Rotary International and their commitment to helping the less fortunate by giving their time and training within a specific profession. The Deputy Minister touched on the issue of the Financial Service Charter. He encouraged FNB, being one of the leading financial institutions, to actively play a role in the finalisation of the Financial Service Charter. The charter is expected to be finalised by the end of June this month. In closing, Tweya voiced his concerns about the non-existence of a culture of saving in Namibia and appealed to FNB “to develop products that will inculcate a savings culture to strengthen the buying power of the poor and minimize aspects of poverty”. The new branch is manned by a staff of thirteen and led by Branch Manager Roland Dishena. Its opening brings the total of FNB branches in Namibia to 43, with 243 ATM’s and over 1 250 speed point terminals. The opening coincides with the finalising of FNB’s business plan and budget process for the new financial year starting 1st July 2006. Another event that synchronizes with the opening, as the company CEO pointed out, is “the announcement of our recent joint initiative between FNB Namibia, the City of Windhoek and Namibia Electronic Payment Terminals that allows Windhoek residents to buy pre-paid electricity at any FNB ATM countrywide”.
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