The National Australia Bank has announced 600 new tech jobs to “reshape” its workforce as it moves to compete against more agile fintech startups.
Recruitment for the new positions — in software engineering, data, architecture and security — will take place immediately.
It comes after the bank last week revealed it would cut 2,000 jobs in other areas by 2020.
“We know this is an ambitious target and acknowledge the war for talent is intense, but these are the essential skills and roles we need in order to deliver our plan,” said NAB chief technology and operations officer Patrick Wright.
The recruitment drive, according to the bank, will “rebalance” the shift from outsourced tech talent to in-house staffing to better compete with new threats from startups in the financial industry.
“We understand what the fintechs across the world are doing — and we think we can do better,” said Wright.
“But we need to move now, invest in the right systems and people, and change dramatically.”
NAB executive general manager for business transformation Anne Bennett said at an industry event in Sydney that local banks had to defend themselves against both fintechs and the multinational tech companies.
“As the World Bank noted, the largest movie house owns no cinemas, the world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis and increasingly, large phone companies own no telco infrastructure. What then is the future asset for banks? It’s experience,” she said.
“We have been taking up the challenge to provide the experiences that today’s customers are looking for while maintaining the relationship touch that great-great-grandma Emma was used to. It’s the ultimate offensive move against emerging and rapidly moving fintechs or big global tech giants trying to fill the gap.”
The start of the hiring spree has been marked with the appointment of two senior figures reporting to Wright.
Former HSBC Group London digital CIO Yuri Misnik has joined as NAB’s new executive manager for business-enabling technology, and former Scotiabank executive Kyle McNamara has filled the position of executive general manager for program management office.
“We’re looking at the skills needed inside and outside our business to make sure that we can run our systems and service our customers as best as possible,” said Wright.
NAB had a major presence at FinTech Australia’s annual Intersekt conference in Melbourne last week, as a sponsor of the hackathon event. The bank has also been running an in-house innovation incubator, NAB Labs, and innovation fund, NAB Ventures.
The bank recently put aside $4.5 billion of investment to go into its improving operations, with much of the funds assigned to technology and digital work.
“This significant investment will help change the way we provision technology services, which is critical to delivering more effectively to balance innovation with resilience, and speed with security,” Wright said.
Last week NAB reported a full-year net profit of $5.3 billion, which was a 1400% improvement on last year’s $352 million. It paid out a full-year dividend of $1.98 per share. NAB’s cash profit, without one-off items, increased 2.5% to $6.6 billion.