NAB is finishing 2021 with momentum, NAB shareholders heard at the bank’s Annual General Meeting on December 17.
Addressing shareholders, NAB Chairman Philip Chronican and NAB CEO Ross McEwan highlighted the significant changes the bank had made to drive performance.
“We are finishing 2021 a better bank,” Mr Chronican said.
Discipline and execution
NAB CEO Ross McEwan took the helm a little over two years ago. Mr Chronican noted that Mr McEwan, together with his executive leadership team, had “created stability and clarity of strategy, with greater discipline and stronger execution.”
Mr McEwan said NAB was ahead of where he expected it to be after refreshing the bank’s strategy 18 months ago.
“Our investments in customers and colleagues are delivering better service outcomes, higher engagement, and growth across every part of our business,” Mr McEwan said.
This year NAB exited MLC Wealth to simplify its business. It acquired neobank 86 400 and proposes to acquire Citigroup’s Australian consumer business.
The Chairman said NAB was on track with reforms following the Financial Services Royal Commission. Actions to address root causes identified in NAB’s own self-assessment into governance, accountability and culture in 2018 were largely complete, he said.
Mr Chronican noted several regulatory matters had been concluded. The Introducer Payments Program, Plan Service Fees, Consumer Credit Insurance Products and Fee Disclosure Statements matters were closed and customer remediation was complete, he said.
“In total, we have returned $1.3 billion to customers since June 2018 and are on track to have the bulk of remaining legacy issues behind us by the end of 2022,” he said.
Mr McEwan said there was more to do. “Our priority is to better use data to make lending decisions faster and improve our customer experiences, in an increasingly digital and automated world,” he said.
“We want to make unconditional home loan approvals within an hour the standard for NAB customers.”
About half of NAB’s $1.3 billion investment spend in the 2022 financial year would be directed to key strategic initiatives such as further simplification and automation of NAB systems, as well as enhanced use of data and analytics, he said.
Mr Chronican also foreshadowed that the bank would look to appoint at least one new director in 2022. “We are prioritising experience in transformation using digital technology, and greater diversity across all dimensions,” he said.
The NAB Chairman and CEO were optimistic about the Australian and New Zealand economies rebounding in 2022. Australia and New Zealand have some of the highest vaccination rates in the world, and a booster program underway.
“While some COVID-related uncertainty remains, I’m confident 2022 will be a very good year,” Mr McEwan said.
Audio and video footage of the Chair and CEO address can be downloaded here.
Below is an edited version of the highlights video shown during NAB’s AGM: