Andrew Thorburn, the CEO of the NAB, appeared today before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics which is conducting public hearings with Australia’s four major banks as part of its review of the banking sector.
Here is the full text of Thorburn’s opening statement:
Good morning everyone, and thank you for the opportunity to speak with the Committee today.
I’m joined again by our COO, Antony Cahill, and we look forward to your questions.
I’d like to focus my opening remarks on four key themes: Firstly, supporting customers with simpler, easier banking; secondly, helping customers when they most need a hand; thirdly, protecting our customers against crime; and, four, innovating for customers through technology.
On the first point: supporting businesses with simpler, easier banking. Recently, myself and 60 of our senior leaders, as we regularly do, went across Australia and 200 locations talking to clients and our staff.
This is part of our commitment to listening, and acting.
And, customers are telling us consistently they want banking to be simple and less complex.
So, we’ve responded, and we’re the first bank to overhaul, in a major way, standard form contracts for business customers. They’re written in plain English, one third of terms and conditions are gone, and 130,000 businesses will benefit.
And these changes pleasingly have been endorsed not just by customers but by Small Business Ombudsman Kate Carnell, Small Business Minister Michael McCormack, and COSBOA’s (Council of Small Business Australia) Peter Strong.
So, this is just one of the ways we are striving to become easier for our customers to deal with.
Secondly: helping customers when they most need a hand. Banks help customers with some of biggest decisions they make — whether it’s buy a home or starting a business. But it is just as important that we are there to help when they get into difficulty.
Our specialist team, NAB Assist, is dedicated to supporting customers when they most need us. And, 90 per cent of the customers they deal with get back on track within 30 days.
And, we have achieved a 15 per cent reduction in FOS complaints year-on-year, and now have the best result among peers in three of the four major categories.
Less well known is how we help vulnerable Australians through our partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance.
Over the last 15 years, we have provided over $200 million to 500,000 Australians — these are small loans, for things like a washing machine or fridge, but they make a big difference.
We helped 26,000 people with these loans last year – and I’m proud to say that we recently committed to quadrupling that support to 100,000 loans annually.
Thirdly: protecting our customers against crime. I know financial crime is of interest to the Committee, and to the broader community. And, that is because it is critical that customers can trust us to protect them and their money.
I want to assure you that NAB takes anti-money laundering obligations extremely seriously. It is a clear focus of our Board, our executive team, and right through the whole bank. We are continually investing to improve detection through better systems and processes.
And, with regard to Intelligent Deposit Machines, IDMS, our maximum cash deposit limit is $5000, and AUSTRAC has advised us they have no issues with our IDM approach.
Unfortunately, bad people will always try to commit crime. So, we must be vigilant and work with regulators, police, and Government to prevent and report crime.
Finally – point four: innovating for customers through technology.
At NAB, we are embracing technology and innovation and the opportunities that brings. We have been an industry leader in using API technology to deliver better customer experiences, and this technology allows us to securely share customer data with trusted partners such as XERO and MYOB to speed up the credit decision processes.
And, earlier this month, we were the first bank to commit to rolling out CCR from February 2018.
So, these are real, tangible ways we are using technology to help our customers.
In closing, at NAB, what motivates us is a clear vision and purpose.
Our vision is to be the most respected bank in Australia and New Zealand. Our purpose is to back the bold because they move Australia forward.
These are not just statements. I believe they motivate us to do our best work every day.
We’re optimistic, but not complacent, about Australia’s future, and NAB has a central role to play inspiring confidence, and creating investment, jobs and economic growth.
Chairman, thank you. We now look forward your questions.