Recently, a small business owner in his sixties rang NAB for help. His business was going through a tough patch, and he was struggling to make ends meet.
“He was really upset that he couldn’t put food on the table for his family,” said Kelly who is Customer Care Associate in NAB Assist, a service for customers who are dealing with tough situations impacting them financially.
“Unfortunately, he was in a situation where he didn’t qualify for any benefits from the government.”
As part of NAB Assist’s Customer Care team, Kelly deals with situations like this all the time, especially with increasing cost of living pressures.
“A lot of our older customers in particular have never been in this predicament – they’ve never had to ask for help,” said Kelly.
“For them to swallow their pride and say, ‘At the moment I really can’t do this’ is a big deal for them and we want to assist them, listen attentively, and offer the right services.”
Kelly talked it through to understand the customer’s situation and was able to ensure he had enough funds to get him through.
“These stories can be quite distressing at times, but we know we have the tools that can help,” she said.
“Every customer is unique, and we tailor the solution to meet their needs.
“He’s now back on track and couldn’t express his gratitude enough. He actually broke down in tears.”
Of course, this call wasn’t Kelly’s first rodeo. She’s been with NAB for 23 years, first in branches and for six years in the NAB Assist team. And she’s got the life experience to empathise with Aussies struggling to make ends meet.
“I’m not a young chicken. I got my first mortgage with an interest rate of 18%, and I’ve now got children who have mortgages,” said Kelly.
Helping people is part of Kelly’s DNA.
“My kids and husband always tell me off because they reckon I have a sign on my head that says, ‘Ask me for help’ because whenever we’re out people just tend to talk to me,” said Kelly.
“It’s just little things like listening, being non-judgmental and letting people know that you’re there. And what goes around comes around.”
This week, Seven News reporter Gemma Acton chatted with NAB’s CEO Ross McEwan and Kelly about the support available to customers from NAB Assist.
“I was really stepping out of my comfort zone, but to be asked to do that was an absolute honour,” said Kelly.
Kelly spoke with Gemma about relating to customers who were struggling to keep on top of bills.
“We are the human face, going through many of the sorts of challenges that our customers are going through, so together we can achieve,” she said.
“We want to work with you. We want to give you the power back to be able to get back on top of things.”
A message to NAB customers
Our teams at NAB stand behind their customers, ready to help, including NAB CEO Ross McEwan.
Mr McEwan, who also spoke to Seven News, said the passionate people at NAB Assist had the experience and empathy to help find the right solution for any customer facing financial difficulty.
“We learnt lots out of the Covid experience. This team was on the front line, working with customers to make sure they stayed in good shape,” Mr McEwan said.
“With interest rates going up, there will be more customers who need some help with their financial position, and we want to make sure we’re here to help.
“And you’ve got to remember too, why customers have some difficulties. It’s usually through a change in circumstance, either they have lost a job, unfortunately lost a partner or a death in the family. They may have had their hours reduced. They might be finding things like the change in cost of living has got on top of them. It’s those circumstances,” he said.
“Very few customers say, ‘I’m not paying’. Most people want help to get back on their feet and the great team at NAB Assist is here to do exactly that, and the results show we can.”
Where to go
Mr McEwan said there are several avenues for making the first step to get help.
“Customers can come through our website or our app for assistance, and our team here will follow up,” Mr McEwan said.
“Sometimes customers just need a phone call, have a chat, and find out what the best options are.
“Sometimes it is reducing the payments for a period of time, or paying interest only, not the principal. There are a range of options our team have to get people back on their feet.”
Visit NAB’s Financial Hardship page for more support options available to customers experiencing financial difficulty.