Technology and reputation key to navigating through market volatility: NAB


IT investment and customer satisfaction are the top priorities for charting a course through challenging market conditions, according to NAB Group CEO, Cameron Clyne.

It is these elements that will provide the points of differentiation in an increasingly competitive market where customers are placing greater focus on a bank’s reputation and reliability.

Technology has been a key area of investment for NAB since Clyne stepped into the CEO role and embarked on a core banking platform transformation program three years ago. The bank recently launched a virtual call centre, which Clyne claims is the first of its kind and scale in Australia. Announcements on major customer-facing initiatives are also expected in the coming months.

Clyne says the bank’s investment in technology has enhanced NAB’s reputation by substantially improving the bank’s customer satisfaction rating. NAB achieved the highest customer satisfaction amongst the major banks in 2012, according to Roy Morgan research. Mobile and tablet applications have been identified as additional drivers behind the improved customer satisfaction rating.

“We continue to differentiate ourselves in reputation and the value of that agenda is coming into sharp focus given the recent events that have adversely affected a number of large global banks,” he says.

Numerous banks have fallen prey to media controversy this year, including RBS, HSBC and Standard Chartered. In the case of RBS it was the failure of their IT systems, while HSBC and Standard Chartered have faced allegations of illegal dealing with rogue groups or nations. These high-profile events, combined with the general negative economic sentiment have had a negative impact on the reputation of the financial services sector globally.

While Australia’s big four banks have seen a drop in customer satisfaction this year, according to Roy Morgan research, NAB is down just one percent and remains the highest-ranked bank amongst the big four.

Clyne says with a strong reputation and continued IT innovation, NAB is well-placed to weather further market volatility. “We’ve delivered on many of the key aims set out in 2009 and have progressed a number of important initiatives, such as a technology transformation program and the restructure of the UK business. These have provided a strong foundation for NAB in the future.”

For the last quarter NAB announced a net profit of $1.4 billion. Revenue was down one per cent, reflecting higher funding costs for the bank’s UK interests but offset by strong growth in personal banking income. Expenses were reduced due to disciplined expense management.