FNB cuts out go-betweens with new car marketplace

Vetted peer-to-peer transactions sees bank challenge the status quo …
The extent to which motor dealers embrace the platform will be interesting as it effectively disintermediates them. Image: Moneyweb

FNB has expanded its successful nav» Home marketplace, which allows its customers to buy and sell homes from each other without agents, to vehicles.

The new nav» Car functionality enables a peer-to-peer marketplace of sellers and buyers in collaboration with FirstRand’s WesBank vehicle and asset finance unit. Its ‘nav»’ proposition is integrated in the FNB app, which offers access to four million users.

The marketplace ensures “less angst” on both sides of the transaction. From a buyer’s perspective, as WesBank Motor CEO Ghana Msibi explains, the asset has been vetted. From a seller’s perspective, there is little risk as the buyer has been pre-approved for finance.

The platform offers an instant value estimate to ensure sellers price correctly and, through a partnership with vehicle inspection company Dekra, can include an inspection report for the vehicle.

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There are thousands of listings live on the platform already and the bank says it has “already facilitated some sales”.

In the second phase, the group’s partner dealership network will be included. It will be interesting to see to what extent dealers embrace the platform as it effectively disintermediates them.

Rip-off risk reduced

Importantly, the platform offers sellers another option for private sales besides WeBuyCars which now dominates the buying side of the market in urban areas. Marketplaces like Facebook, OLX and Gumtree have tens of thousands of listings, but there remain serious questions about vetting and the vulnerability to fraud and/or scams on these.

The nav» Car platform already has robust usage, with over 70 000 licence discs renewed and delivered during the pandemic, and the paying of 200 000 fines enabled. Crucially, it already has 700 000 vehicles loaded in customers’ digital garages. This means it has built up a valuable view of these vehicles over time and bank executives have hinted that, in future, it may add functionality that enables ongoing tracking of events during ownership (such as maintenance).

These vehicles are already automatically loaded in digital garages for new WesBank finance clients, and there are strong incentives in place for customers to have their cars loaded and to keep details accurate.

The strongest of these is its fuel earn on the eBucks rewards programme, which offers up to R4 a litre back each month. This can be doubled up at the end of each quarter to up to R8 a litre if customers have an active vehicle finance agreement with WesBank (or Toyota Financial Services or Volkswagen Financial Services), have their car loaded under nav» Car and have 100% of their fuel spend at Engen.

Potential

Since launch three years ago, nav» Home marketplace has facilitated 25 000 peer-to-peer transactions, totalling R30 billion in home loan payouts. This offers some idea of the potential of the nav» Car marketplace and, given the nature of these (lower value, less friction), the platform could easily enable this number of transactions within the next few months.

FNB CEO Jacques Celliers says the group’s (federated) organisational structure has helped it move this aggressively from a traditional bancassurance model to integrated financial services to a platform.

In many (most) other banks, units operate in silos and each of these has its own incentives which prevents collaboration.

“We think we’re on the front foot,” says Celliers, declining to be drawn on how far ahead of competitors he judges the bank to be.

“Today, everyone has an app. It is more important what we have behind the app.”

Also key for the bank is to ensure that whatever functionality it enables is “not something people engage with once a year, for example”.

Wider focus

The bank has also expanded its home services marketplace to now include professional services such as accountants, tutors, and ‘gig workers’. Since launching this marketplace last year, the bank has helped generate an additional R1.5 million in revenue for participating small businesses. This is tiny but could scale quickly if the bank incentivises or stimulates usage.

Its new nav» Care solution allows customers to donate cash or eBucks to a good cause across various categories in under a minute.

It has also expanded its money management capability with a revamped ‘My net worth’ tool which is currently in beta. This move suggests it wants to play a more active role in this space in future.

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Great platform to use.. the best part is if you have a private FNB banker you can really hold people selling goods/services on this platform accountable.

The guys don’t mess around on this platform and items are well vetted. And if not you complain directly to your banker and they are obligated to sort out your issue (thats if you bank with FNB).

Another great help is the handymen and building contractors available… usually they are the worst to deal with. However if their quality of work is not good then you can make it FNB’s problem and not your own.. you can complain about anything and FNB has to solve your issue with the service provider on their platform.

Absolutely amazing for RSA!

There’s a dark side to this. When homeowners and vehicle owners are unable to pay their debts, FNB will be quick to repossess the houses and cars, because they have a platform to sell them, to the highest bidder. This needs to be regulated, to avoid abuse.

Yes. Just what we need in Mzansi. More regulations. This may come as a surprise but in most parts of the world if you don’t pay back your loans the bank will step in. Where is the possibility of abuse?

End of comments.

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