First National Bank (FNB) plans to equip 100 of its branches with solar power to ensure uninterrupted services in communities.
According to a statement from the bank, the initiative aims to improve services offered in its branches during times of load-shedding, while mitigating the environmental impact of its operations.
The project will commence with branches in Mthatha (Eastern Cape), Bethlehem and Phuthaditjhaba (Free State), as well as Zeerust in the North-West.
FNB CEO Jacques Celliers says the transition to renewable energy falls in line with FNB’s commitment to have a positive impact on the environment.
“Approximately 97% of our branches are already equipped with backup power solutions, including uninterrupted power supply and lithium batteries, to ensure access to services during intermittent load-shedding.”
The pressure of load-shedding has forced banks to protect themselves against the risks associated with rolling power outages.
Early this year, the South African Reserve Bank cautioned that rolling power cuts may pose a threat to the country’s financial stability.
Lee-Anne van Zyl, CEO of FNB points-of-presence, emphasises the need for the bank to remain accessible during load-shedding to communities that rely heavily on branches for banking services.
“Our branches are critical in facilitating economic activities in local markets. While millions of our customers use channels such as our FNB app, online (banking) and cellphone banking to access most services, many continue to visit our branches to perform a range of activities and consult our advisors on financial requirements,” says Van Zyl.
The solar initiative is set to begin in the coming months, with a phased approach to ensure a smooth and efficient transition for each branch involved, notes the bank.