NAB announces First Nations business growth ambition with a $1 billion lending target

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  • NAB to more than double its lending to First Nations businesses and community organisations by the end of 2026.
  • Funding anticipated to jump more than 140%, help stimulate business growth, and create prosperity.
  • Network of specialised bankers to support growing First Nations business customer base, from both a commercial and cultural perspective.

NAB today set a new target to more than double its lending to First Nations businesses and community organisations to at least $1 billion over the next three years.

Through its growing network of specialised bankers across Australia, NAB will fund First Nations businesses and community organisations eager to unlock their potential and grow.

NAB Group Executive Business and Private Banking, Andrew Irvine, said NAB’s ambitious new lending target represented an increase of more than 140% based on current lending of $413 million and would help stimulate sustainable business growth to help create prosperity for First Nations communities.

“Businesses play an integral role in strengthening First Nations leadership and creating opportunities for communities to succeed. First Nations businesses are leading the charge by driving self-determination, and rapidly improving financial capability and inclusion,” Mr Irvine said.

“We have listened to First Nations businesses and community organisations around the barriers they experience when trying to establish and grow their businesses. During the last two years, we have put the building blocks in place to better support our growing First Nations business customer base, from both a commercial and cultural perspective.

“From land councils to native food businesses, farmers to fashion designers, we are walking alongside our customers as they turn their business dreams into reality.”

CEO of Supply Nation Australia, and proud Awabakal woman, Kate Russell said NAB’s ambition to lend over $1 billion to Indigenous businesses would help promote a prosperous, vibrant and sustainable Indigenous business sector.

“Indigenous businesses have long struggled with accessing critical capital to grow. Clear commitments from organisations like NAB to do more business with the Indigenous business sector and understand their cultural drivers will create more opportunities for Indigenous businesses to thrive,” Ms Russell said.

The First Nations business sector is rapidly growing in Australia, with Australian consumers eager to purchase goods and services directly from First Nations businesses. New insights from NAB’s economics team reveals about 40% of Australians want to spend more money with First Nations owned businesses.

“Working together with First Nations people, we want to strengthen financial resilience, increase business and employment opportunities, and remove the barriers that have traditionally made it hard for First Nations customers and businesses to access financial services,” Mr Irvine added.

NAB was the first Australian corporate business to achieve ‘Elevate’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) status. The new lending target is central to NAB’s 2024-2026 draft RAP which would be NAB’s fifth at the Elevate top tier, subject to approval by Reconciliation Australia.

Notes to the editor:

  • In early 2022, NAB launched its First Nations business strategy, with the aspiration to be the bank that backs First Nations business. To realise this aspiration, NAB established its First Nations Business Banking team – a specialist team of bankers who understand the First Nations business sector to build the best and most compelling First Nations business service proposition to meet the needs of First Nations business customers.
  • NAB’s vision for reconciliation is to support the economic advancement and financial aspirations of First Nations people. This reflects NAB’s ambition to serve customers well and help our communities prosper. We continue to strive for reconciliation through our actions and have had an Elevate level Reconciliation Action Plan in place since 2013.
  • NAB acknowledges Australia’s First Nations people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and their continuing connection to country, sea and water. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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