THANKS RALPH: Ian Narev Splits Credit For Australia's Biggest Banking Profit

Ian Narev / CBA

Commonwealth Bank boss Ian Narev is still delivering on his predecessor’s vision after a year and a half at the helm, crediting projects that Ralph Norris set in motion six years ago for the bank’s record result.

Addressing media following CBA’s profit announcement this week, Narev said results highlighted the benefits of the bank’s long-standing priorities, including a six-year goal of becoming the market leader in customer satisfaction, and its massive core banking transformation project.

When asked how he felt delivering the biggest profit ever by an Australian bank, Narev responded:

The number one feeling I’ve got is I’m not the man who delivered it. We’ve got 50,000 people and 14 million customers who delivered it.

I say that in a very thoughtful manner because this is the product of 50,000 people who have worked very hard for the benefit of the customers and customers who entrust us with their financial needs.

In February, Commonwealth Bank reached its six-year goal of topping Roy Morgan’s customer satisfaction survey for retail banking.

Narev said happier customers were taking up more products per customer from the bank, which in turn helped CBA deliver strong shareholder returns.

At the heart of what the group has been doing for the last 5 or 6 years is a focus on great people, inspired to deliver great customer service.

It’s certainly not something I drove – it’s something that was driven by the vision of Ralph Norris when he was running the institution.

He really made sure – and this is how you start a customer-driven culture – that the tone is set from the top and that key management positions right through the group are filled with people who are committed to that vision.

It starts with the leadership, and then you’ve just got to make sure that we make it easy for our people to do the right thing.

The most encouraging thing you find as a leader in this institution is when you walk around the branches, around the contact centres, around the business banking centres, you find people who are energised and engaged and actually come to work because they want to do the right thing by the customer.

You’re not asking them to do anything they don’t want to do; you’re just finding ways to make it easier for them to do what they come to work to do.

Ralph Norris led the Commonwealth Bank for six years – including through the global financial crisis – and was generally well regarded by staff and shareholders.

Norris introduced a customer satisfaction metric that accounted for up to 40% of managers’ KPIs.

Narev said all Commonwealth Bank employees were still assessed on customer satisfaction, which accounted for 20%-40% of all employees’ KPIs.

“Still, one quarter of long term incentives of my team, and my own incentives, are based on long-term customer satisfaction,” he said.

Now read: Gail Kelly Quizzes Employees On Westpac’s Vision In The Elevator

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