An Interview with Renee Roberts


NAB’s Group Executive for Enterprise Services and Transformation speaks with FST Media about how significant mobile platforms are to NAB’s NextGen transformation program.

FST Media: What will be “the next big thing” in retail banking?

Roberts: The ‘omni-channel experience’ is a defining trend. We will continue to see more banking services integrated so that customers can track their relationship with their bank. After all, banking is about choice, and our products and services need to be where our customers are.

FST Media: How significant are mobile platforms to NAB’s NextGen transformation program and how will this underpin future success?

Roberts: More than 60 per cent of NAB customers access their online banking via a mobile or a tablet device. That is why we are focused on delivering easy-to-use and more accessible mobile apps for our customers. We have also integrated our payments app, ‘NAB Flik’, into mobile internet banking, making it easier for our customers to send and receive money securely.

FST Media: What is next for ‘NAB Connect’ and how has the upgrade delivered value to NAB customers?

Roberts: The upgrade to NAB Connect is delivering an even better experience to a record number of customers who logged in more than 15 million times last year. Our customers have made it clear to us that they love being able to view their transaction details and payment history, book FX deals on the spot or in advance, in addition to our new BPAY features. NAB Connect now alerts customers when a payment has been modified before authorisation, which is another example of how we always look at new ways to enhance security and tackle fraud.

FST Media: How will ‘NAB View’ arm staff with the right tools to enhance the customer experience?

Roberts: NAB View is giving our bankers richer insights into our customers’ needs so that we can deliver a more personalised service. This new technology has given us further insight into our 12 million customers and 150 million relationships. Our bankers can see all of the customer’s information in one place, so that they can have the right conversation, with the right customer, at the right time. 

FST Media: How will the bank’s ‘Personal Banking Origination Platform’ simplify interactions with customers?

Roberts: NAB’s Personal Banking Origination Platform is simplifying and speeding up personal banking for our customers across our personal product range, which includes home and personal loans, transaction accounts, deposit accounts and credit cards. In the coming year, our customers will experience one application process for multiple services, including product origination, digital 100 point ID checks, an ability to accept contracts and loan documents online, as well as a facility for customers to track their applications via internet banking (‘MyTracker’). 

FST Media: What role will NAB’s new information analytics platform ‘NextGen Credit Risk Engine’ play in the customer journey?\

Roberts: We have updated our data and analytics platform to provide better and faster insights into our customers’ experiences and management information. NAB’s modern analytics platform integrates an updated general ledger system, security, funds transfer and liquidity-pricing engines and a new credit-risk engine. This process has enabled the decommissioning of 37 legacy servers.

FST Media: How do you see cloud adoption shaping up in financial services over the next five years?

Roberts: Combining private and public clouds allows companies to better meet customer demands in online services. As more of our NAB services migrate to the cloud, we will be able to suggest offers to our customers even more quickly, with flawless delivery. 

FST Media: How do you encourage a culture of innovation in your team?

Roberts: Our entire organisation is driven by innovation. We are constantly innovating: whether we are developing adjacent and transformational customer service offerings, using customer-centric design and rapid prototyping approaches, or solving core banking improvement opportunities. We have developed an ‘Innovation Academy’, leveraging some of the best global thinkers and methodologies in the innovation space, and offer open access to all employees. We saw a great example of innovation at NAB last December when we held a “Hackathon” event, which invited innovators to help generate novel customer experience ideas by using a new piece of technology called ‘NAB API’. There is exceptional innovative potential in our own workforce, and we really wanted to see what creative ideas the teams could come up with to exploit the API layer for new products and services.

FST Media: What methods appeal to you to increase the number of women in IT? 

Roberts: NAB has made great inroads in diversity. There are more women at a senior executive level at NAB and our very successful ‘Women in Technology’ program is celebrating its first birthday this month. The Women in Technology group, of which I am proud to be a member, now has more than 500 members, and has even bigger and better plans this year for continuing to support and advise our business in tackling the declining number of women choosing a career in IT. 

FST Media: With respect to career development, what is the best advice you have ever received?

Roberts: There are a few pieces of advice I have received which have stayed with me, including: “Never stop learning and developing, ask questions when you do not know the answer, you are never finished; and recognise that you are good enough.”

FST Media: Every leader has a legacy they wish to be remembered for, what is yours?

Roberts: A legacy is about the things you leave behind when you are not there anymore. While it is always great to look back on the things you have achieved, my legacy will ultimately be built by the people I have come into contact with. This is about inspiring, teaching, coaching, mentoring and creating the right environment for people to work together; for people to believe in each other and themselves, to focus on what is right and important, and to enable them to make bold decisions.

This interview first appeared in FST Media’s annual magazine The Who’s Who of Financial Services Asia Pacific which launched at the Technology & Innovation – the Future of Banking & Financial Services conference in Melbourne on 3rd June, 2015.