During these tough economic times, providing sound financial service options to clients is essential as it promotes a culture of saving, thereby instilling good financial habits in them and ultimately promoting wealth/asset building.

This creates a need for customised financial products which cater-to and address these issues; products that understand the financial needs of clients and determine the role that financial services can play in fulfilling those needs.

It is with this rationale that Standard Bank approached its redesign of the Prestige Account; while the existing account was good, they knew they could do better.

“At Standard Bank, we pride ourselves in providing our clients with solutions that are perfectly designed to suit their needs. It is important for us to constantly review our solutions and keep improving them to address our clients’ ever changing needs,” Standard Bank’s Prestige and Student Banking Manager, Garth Petersen, said of the Bank’s decision to revamp the account this week.

During the revamp, the Bank looked at removing some of the account’s offerings that were obsolete in terms of the clients’ needs right now, enhanced on its benefits and reduced the monthly fee to a mere N$199 to ensure that the clients are saving.

“This is a product for the clients, by the clients. So we went to our clients and we listened to what they had to say, what they wanted from the product. We listened to them, looked at the pricing and made it more affordable for them,” he pointed out.

By joining the Prestige Inner Circle, clients receive a host of free benefits, namely free Debit Card POS purchases (domestic), free Credit Card POS purchases, free internal account transfers, free internet banking payments, free internet banking subscription, free cash deposits, free ATM balance inquiries, free cellphone payments and free My Updates subscription, all for only N$199 per month.

In addition, to ensure that clients are protected for all of life’s unpleasant surprises, the Prestige value bundle offers clients death cover of 6x Net Monthly salary (maximum amount capped at N$114 000), physical impairment cover of

6x Net Monthly salary (maximum amount capped at N$114 000) and a funeral benefit to the value of N$10 000. When your monthly fees are paid up to date and your account is active, you automatically qualify for this cover under the Prestige bundle option.

“We are in this business to help our clients grow financially and not just provide loans. It’s a whole journey and we give advice on what clients need to do to grow financially” Petersen said. Prestige bankers and personal financial advisor can aid clients with financial planning by setting up a realistic budget, look at risk management and give advice on managing their costs. Financial planning is essential for every client as it helps them determine their short and long-term financial goals and create a plan to meet those goals. Part of financial planning is risk management and includes having short and long term insurance in place should any of life’s unpleasant surprises show up. Another way is to grow yourself an emergency fund of three to six months your salary. This way you’ll be covered for any unforeseen circumstance such as losing your job,” he noted.

Prestige clients have access to different savings and investment options in the form of a Call account, Notice Deposit and Fixed deposit, which can all aid in jumpstarting a savings culture in these trying economic times when most people are struggling to make ends meet and scarcely have enough money for a rainy day. Albert Einstein called compound interest the eighth wonder of the world for a reason. The benefits of investing a small monthly amount over a longer period is much more beneficial then investing for a shorter period. A simple example to illustrate this is:

Investing N$500 per month at 5% interest annually, compounded monthly, over 10 years will give you N$77,000 at the end of the period. If you continue until 20 and 30 years your amount will be N$205,000 and N$416,000 respectively. This is the effect of compound interest and how it can help you grow your wealth. “We want to show clients the result of reinvesting interest, rather than paying it out, so that interest in the next period is earned on the principal sum plus previously accumulated interest,” Petersen explained.

“If you look at the Prestige value proposition, it’s actually quite commendable. The total package is way above what our competitors offer. There’s a lot more that our clients get by being a Prestige client. Apart from the freebies, you get a lot of other great benefits,” Petersen stressed.

These benefits include access to Prestige line consultants who are available to assist clients telephonically with their day-to-day banking needs and queries 24/7. Prestige clients also have dedicated branch-based service areas, where they can engage with a dedicated team of Prestige Bankers just in case a client needs to step into a branch for any financial services.

“A prestige client doesn’t want to stand in long queues, or doesn’t have the time to go to the bank. They need to be addressed quickly and efficiently. They want the bank to be there as a partner for them in order to grow their wealth and improve their life status. This is why the Prestige account is ideal for them. If you really make use of all the transaction channels of Prestige banking, you rarely have to step into a branch for your day-to-day banking needs” he said.

To join the Inner Circle, clients need to earn between N$20 000 – N$69 999, or have a four-year degree and earn N$5000.

“One of my favourite quotes is ‘winners never quit and quitters never win’. When you look at growing your wealth, managing your finances or making sure you are covered for life’s unwelcomed surprises, it might look very daunting at first but it’s just all about sticking through it. When you join the Inner Circle, we will be there for you every step of the way to make sure your journey is a smooth one. So join the Inner Circle and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer,” he concluded.