Standard Bank takes FNB complaint to Twitter

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Standard Bank, which is one of South Africa’s largest financial institutions, has gone “gloves off” with FNB (another large South African bank) on Twitter.

Over the last few months First National Bank, a Division of First Rand Bank LTD, has made a concerted effort to portray itself as a customer-Orientated bank. Its official Twitter account, @rbjacobs, has been on call virtually 24 hours a day helping FNB clients with any and all problems and banking queries. FNB also made waves last year when it launched South Africa’s first Mobile Banking App on iPhone, Android and Blackberry simultaneously and then weeks later launched discounted smartphones and tablets with interest-free loans to Gold and Platinum Clients. The active involvement of FNB CEO Michael Jordaan has also helped personalise the relationship between FNB customers and the bank. This has created a virtual army of FNB evangelists that would make Steve Jobs and his Mac Fanboys proud.

The marketing campaign went into overdrive on radio when “Steve” from Bleep-Bank called unhappy consumers to find out why they were switching to FNB.

It was only a matter of time before one of the other “Big Four” banks (the other two being ABSA and Nedbank) responded to FNB’s robust marketing drive.

The tweet stream started, however, when Standard Bank announced that it would be laying a complaint against FNB with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for a print advert that appeared in the Sunday Times.

The basis of the complaint was that a number of the claims made in the ads are false.

It then laid out the claims it had issue with in detail:

Some Twitter users appeared amused at Standard Bank’s comments, but noted that the bank had failed to address a number of its own issues:


One criticised the technical legitimacy of Standard Bank’s opening tweet:

Another questioned the wisdom of taking the fight to Twitter:

At least one Twitter user was on Standard Bank’s side:

FNB CEO and prolific tweeter Michael Jordaan told his followers to check out the various responses to Standard Bank’s tweets:

FNB’s official account @rbjacobs refused to be drawn into the conflict, although it did respond positively to a couple of people who jumped to FNB’s side:

Additional reporting by Tony Seifart

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