Since news broke on 31 October that FNB’s popular banking app and its nav>> Home feature now provides its customers with the option of listing and selling their own homes privately (or opt to use an estate agent) directly in the app, the estate agent community has taken to social media to voice its outrage. Some have called for a complete boycott of the bank, and today a boycott of property portal, Private Property – which the industry learned has been feeding agents’ property listings directly to the app (without agents’ consent).
Industry representatives have responded to agents’ shock by calling for a high-level meeting with FNB to understand the bank’s intentions with the app – a feature that has deeply angered the industry which sees it as directly competing with estate agents.
Marius Marais, FNB Mortgage Cluster Head, issued the following statement to HomeTimes’ questions for clarity on the move:
“FNB values the contribution of estate agents and mortgage originators. We are committed to working together with these industry players to meet the needs of customers in the buying and selling process.
“FNB follows a multi-channel approach to better meet evolving customer expectations. Estate agents and mortgage originators are key stakeholders and we have no intention to exclude them.
“Our nav» Home platform on the FNB Banking App aims to offer added choice to customers by providing a listing service in a secure environment.
“There are currently over three million customers who use the FNB App which presents a significant opportunity for estate agents who have properties listed on the app.
“Up until October 2018, the bank only had estate agent listings through nav» Home, where customers could easily click and contact the estate agent directly.
“Through our latest innovation, customers now have the option to also list their properties on the App with the choice to sell privately or through estate agents.
“The private listing opportunity is in response to a worldwide trend where a niche of customers desire to do things themselves on digital platforms. However, customers who list privately can change their minds and request the services of estate agents on the App at any given time.
FNB has had the estate agent listings service in place since 2016 on the FNB App.”