15 Dec 2017

NAB Group CEO Address – 2017 AGM

Thank you, Ken, and good morning to our shareholders.

Today I will outline how we are growing and changing our business so we can better deliver for our customers.

But first I would like to add my welcome to our shareholders, both in the room and online. This is your day and we look forward to engaging directly with you.

You have invested in our company and it’s important you feel as confident as we do in our long-term plan.

Performance

I am proud of the performance delivered by our people over the past 12 months. We had a good year. The benefits of a simpler, more focused bank are clear. We can now invest in the future from a position of strength.

In terms of our 2017 full year results, all business units contributed strongly. Consumer Banking & Wealth earnings rose 4.3 per cent, Corporate & Institutional Banking earnings jumped 12.3 per cent and BNZ earnings lifted 8.9 per cent.

In our Business Bank, earnings rose 6.3 per cent and there is good momentum heading into 2018. Customer advocacy among medium business, as measured by the Net Promoter System, improved to +3. This is a market-leading position, up from third last year.

Costs have also been well-managed, with productivity savings of $301 million this year. We have demonstrated our ability to grow earnings, while containing cost growth. We are also pleased with the work we have done to improve our return on equity.

Our focus on customers is showing good progress and our priority segments NPS has continued to improve. We are now at -10 and leading our peers on this measure. However we know there is much more to do to have more of our customers as advocates and we are committed to our goal of achieving positive NPS.

Operating environment

We are operating in an economy that overall is in good shape, with business conditions at record highs.

In general the balance sheets of our customers look good. Debt levels are manageable and they have the capacity to invest. In our conversations with small businesses, they have told us red tape, energy prices and the overall cost of living are holding back confidence.

To these companies we say ‘don’t wait – Australia needs you to invest, to help us all grow’.

Delivering for our customers
Through our determination to be better for our customers, we are breaking new ground.

One area this is happening is Customer Journeys, a fundamentally different way for us to work. We are looking at all the interactions our customers have with us in the moments that matter to them, such as starting a business or buying a home.

In the 12 months since launch there have been 45 initiatives delivered to the benefit of four million customers and over 200,000 businesses.

Among the innovations delivered is the virtual banker for business customers. The Artificial Intelligence chatbot is an Australian first and has the capacity to answer close to 300 questions with 37,000 variations.

For our business customers we have completely overhauled our standard business contracts. These are market-leading in their simplicity.
We have extended our QuickBiz offering to provide fast, unsecured loans of up to $100,000 to small businesses, the backbone of Australia’s economy.

In home lending we have teamed with realestate.com.au in a world-first to make it possible for Australians to search, find and finance their dream home all in one location.

We have launched HICAPS Go, which allows healthcare patients to book, quote, claim and pay for health services from one simple app on their phone.

For retail customers we remain the only major bank to offer a fee-free transaction account.

As Ken noted earlier, the Government has now called a Royal Commission. We will participate and co-operate fully and our response will be led by our Chief Legal and Commercial Counsel Sharon Cook, supported by a dedicated and highly-capable team.

While we know it will be a costly and at times intrusive process, we are determined not to let it distract us from serving our customers better and delivering on our plans.

I do acknowledge we have not always met our standards or those of the community. We are committed to being open, transparent and accountable when mistakes are made.

It is by being better for our customers every day that will build trust with them.

Trust can also be strengthened through communities knowing we will be there when times are tough. That may be through our financial hardship program NAB Assist, or our partnership with Good Shepherd Microfinance that has assisted over 500,000 Australians on low incomes.

Last week we also announced our sponsorship of the Special Olympics in Adelaide next April. Banking at its core is about helping people and it’s wonderful to be involved in important partnerships such as these.

Our accelerated plan

Our plan is clear as we work toward our vision of being Australia and New Zealand’s most respected bank. Our purpose, to back the bold who move Australia forward, guides all our people every day.

We are taking a long-term view, and investing an estimated $4.5 billion over the next three years to further improve our customers’ experience, reshape our capabilities and grow our business. It is a record investment to make our bank fit and ready to lead into the future.

We will be deliberate about where we invest your money. This means continuing to innovate through NAB Labs, NAB Ventures and our leading digital bank UBank; developing new partnerships; and deepening our specialisation in fields such as agriculture, education, health and professional services.

At the same time we need to become a lot simpler. Across the company we are streamlining our systems and targeting a 15-20 per cent decrease in IT applications. We are also targeting a reduction in products of 50 per cent.

We will focus on the growth corridors in western Sydney and Melbourne. There is capacity to add branches, fund infrastructure and have more of our people there. We will go where our customers go.

For some time, our workforce has been changing, and a simpler bank is expected to lead to a net reduction of 4,000 roles over the next three years.

Through this we will treat people with care, honesty and respect and provide them with the tools and skills to be successful wherever their careers take them.

Your management team

Earlier this year we appointed Sharon Cook, Mike Baird and Patrick Wright as new members of our Executive. They join an already strong and experienced team.

We have also announced a switch in roles for Angie Mentis and Anthony Healy, with Angie to run BNZ and Anthony to return to Australia to head Business & Private Banking.

Developing great leaders, bankers, talent and a great culture is a core focus right across our business.

We are also determined to do more to advance gender equality. In addition to committing to gender pay equity, which is equal pay for work of equal value, we have committed to have between 40 and 60 per cent women at all levels of management by 2020.

Conclusion

We are entering into a new and exciting chapter for NAB. We will continue to grow and change to be better for our customers – and as a result be better for you.

So I say to our customers, thank you for banking with us. Our commitment is to continue to improve, and deliver better products and services for you every day.

Thank you to our people. You serve our customers with skill, pride and passion.

Finally, thank you to our shareholders for your support. This is your bank and we hope you are confident in the plan we have outlined.

We now look forward to your questions.

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