NAB’s ‘busiest branch is a mobile phone’

Getty/ Brendon Thorne

1000 people are on the NAB website at 3am every day, NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn told the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce today.

Thorburn was speaking about the need for banks to innovate, and outlined moves the bank was making to “disrupt ourselves from within”. According to Thorburn the key is not “big vs small”, but “faster vs slow” that mattered, as mobile and online take over from physical branches.

“What we need to do is design an innovation system. One that is scalable and reliable, that is run by the people within the bank itself,” Thorburn said

Thornton described two initiatives the bank was pursuing: NAB Labs and NAB Ventures. Between them they will allow NAB to innovate internally, invest and buy from outside, and experiment with new technologies like mobile apps and the blockchain.

According to Thorburn, NAB Labs has been designed with a 12 week cycle, to experiment and iterate quickly. 18 prototypes have been built in the past year, although only four have been released so far.

NAB Ventures is a $50 million fund that was setup to invest in financial technology. Thorburn noted the early investment NAB made in Xero as a sign of what’s to come.