With half the South African population under 26, banks have to rethink what they offer this important market segment, and how. The right kind of banking support is a critical lever in helping the youth achieve its potential, but it needs to be complemented by a total solution that encompasses not only negotiating today’s challenges but lays the foundation for achieving future goals.

“I never advise clients to follow their passion lightly. They first have to work out how they can afford to do that,” said Samke Mhlongo, founder and Chief Executive of The Next Chapter Wealth Partners. “It starts with a very practical understanding of what you need to do not to set up the income streams you will need to achieve your dreams somewhere down the line.”

Ms Mhlongo was one of the panellists discussing the needs and challenges of South Africa’s youth at a function hosted by Nedbank.

“Are you just selling a product or are you helping me create wealth? If a bank gets that right, it will have a client for life,” she said.

Student and Social media influencer Mihali Ndamase said that the youth had very individual definitions of what constitutes wealth. This means that banks need to become better at reading what customers want, and flexible enough to provide it. Fellow panellist Rivo Mhlari, emerging entrepreneur and founder of Rikatec, a vehicle information management systems company, added that given the advent of big data, companies could make highly accurate decisions based on fact.

Mutsa Chironga, Managing Executive for Consumer Banking at Nedbank, says that the philosophy that underpins Nedbank’s Unlocked.me offering takes these insights into account. Unlocked.me is the result of an intensive process of consultation with young people across the country. With an initial focus on students, Mr Chironga says that Unlocked.me will be rolled out to non-students in the near future, as most young people do not have the opportunity to attend university.

“The big problem young people are struggling with today is how to make sure they achieve the future they envisage—what steps should they take now?—while maintaining a certain lifestyle,” he explains. “Unlocked.me provides a comprehensive solution to help them balance all these elements.

“As we learned from my fellow panellists here today, financial management tools and services, as well as lifestyle benefits, are just a ticket to the game. This generation has high aspirations but also recognises that today’s world is highly competitive.”

“Nedbank has responded to this need by building a comprehensive set of services into Unlocked.me to provide a platform on which young people can unlock their potential. This market-first offering is inspired by our vision to use our financial expertise to help young people achieve their potential—and build a better future for the whole country.”

For example, Nedbank has entered into partnerships with Gradesmatch, which allows learners to enter their marks to obtain a view of what they qualify to study at tertiary institutions. Another key partnership is with jobs portal, Giraffe, which provides an easy way to access jobs particularly suited to this demographic, whether it’s a first-time position or a part-time gig to help fund studies. Unlocked.me will also hook account holders up with Nedbank clients to uncover mentorship opportunities.

“The tools and services young people can access via Unlocked.me will evolve and expand over time, in response to what our customers tell us they need. The real point is that traditional banking solutions are only part of what today’s generation wants—and needs. Unlocked.me will evolve and expand in line with what our customers tell us they need,” he concludes. “The real game-changer is that we are redefining the conventional banking relationship by creating a multi-faceted life partnership that builds financial security to enable our customers’ long-term aspirations.”

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Thokozani Patrick Mahlangu

Thokozani Mahlangu is an internationally certified digital marketing professional and an Mcom Business Management graduate from the University of Johannesburg. He is the Chief Brand Creator of Pat onBrands and Pat onFitness- a fitness movement through which organizes weekly runs under the banner #RunWithPat.

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