Thea’s year of assisting

  • Full Year Results

As NAB releases our FY22 Full Year Results, NAB banker Thea Belbasis reflects on her year supporting vulnerable Australians as part of the NAB Assist team.

  • 09.11.2022
  • Time to read 1 min read


NAB colleague Thea Belbasis started FY22 with a new job in NAB Assist supporting customers experiencing financial hardship and vulnerability.

“It makes me happy when I finish a call with a customer and I know that I was able to make a difference,” said Thea. “It’s what I thrive off and I live for it.

“We’re like the emergency department of NAB. The triple zero for our customers.”

As defined in NAB’s Customer’s Experiencing Vulnerability Framework 2021-23, vulnerability can be caused by many and varied factors such as illness, natural disaster, low literacy or financial abuse.

“Vulnerabilities can be interrelated,” said Thea. “One individual could have experienced family violence and is now homeless with no money and can’t get to their family because of the floods.

“Every situation is different and for us to tailor our support can make a big difference to that one individual’s life.”

A tough year

A young woman (Thea) and her grandfather
Thea and her grandfather

While she’s spent her year helping others, Thea has had to confront her own heartbreaking life events in 2022.

“My grandfather passed away pretty much as soon as I started my role in NAB Assist,” she said. “We had his funeral and said our goodbyes, and then the next day we got the call that my dad had passed away.

“I won’t lie, it was tough because in NAB Assist we look after bereavement as well, but it gave me the ability to really empathise so that others know I’m not just listening to them, I’m hearing them.”

As one of 10 siblings, Thea can relate to those who felt isolated from loved ones during the height of COVID-19, but she’s also seen financial pressures take their toll.

“A lot of people depleted their savings during the pandemic because they couldn’t work,” she said, “and now the employment they’ve got is only minimal and they’re struggling to afford basic needs such as feeding their family.

“Now that people are starting to go out a bit more and use their money, there are also different vulnerabilities coming to the fore, such as elder abuse and scams.”

This week is Scams Awareness Week. Visit NAB’s Personal Cyber Security Hub to learn how to protect yourself and your family from online fraud, scams and identity theft.

Thea and NAB, ready together

A young woman (Thea) in bright orange SES uniform, smiling and standing next to a ladder
Thea volunteering for the Victorian SES

In FY22, NAB’s Ready Together program has supported customers and communities impacted by devastating floods across Australia.

We provided $4.87 million in support to customers, charities and communities affected by natural disasters including floods in New South Wales and Queensland, and more recently in Victoria.

Not only has Thea been there to help NAB customers with emergency grants and other financial support, but in her spare time she also volunteers for Victoria’s State Emergency Service (SES).

“We just respond to call after call,” she said. “Those requests for assistance could be ‘there’s a branch on my car’, or ‘my house is flooded’, as well as car accidents, police and ambulance assists, and searches for people who’ve gone missing.”

Thea’s partner Tay is also an SES volunteer. The couple met at a crime scene!

“I got called to provide shelter and lighting for forensics and the police,” she said. “We got to talking and now we’re building a house and we move in in less than a month.”

Visit our NAB Ready Together page for more on how NAB is supporting Australians before, during and after natural disasters.

Well positioned for what’s ahead

A couple (Thea and her husband Tay) in orange SES uniform smiling for camera
Thea and her partner, Tay

Taking on the financial burden of home ownership means that Thea is one of many who has had to tighten her belt in 2022.

“Literally everything during our build has cost a lot more because of the price hikes in materials,” she said. “We really had to dig into our savings to be able get the house that we wanted.”

“We haven’t even moved in yet, but we have to factor in that the cost of everything – furniture, appliances, rates, bills – has increased. We’ll be fine but we just need to have those tough financial conversations as a couple.”

In his opening message to NAB’s 2022 Annual Review, CEO Ross McEwan acknowledged headwinds resulting from rising interest rates, elevated inflation and conflicts overseas.

“Many households haven’t experienced conditions like these for decades,” said Ross. “We are ready to support those who need help, however we believe that the majority of our customers are financially well positioned to manage.

“In Australia, about 70 per cent of our mortgage customers are ahead on their repayments. This is in part due to many of our customers taking the opportunity to pay down more of their loan while we had historic low interest rates.”

“We are well placed to look to the challenges and opportunities ahead with confidence and optimism for both our business and customers.”

Thea and NAB are here to help

A young woman, Thea Belbasis, smiling in front of a brick wallAs we enter FY23, Thea’s message to all Australians is to ask for help if you need it.

“Many people who call never expected to fall into hardship, so a lot of my conversations are with people who haven’t reached out to their bank for help before,” said Thea.

“They say, ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me and I don’t know what to do’.”

When Thea sees friends and family doing it tough, her advice is always to contact their bank.

“I find that a lot of the time people don’t even know that there is support they can reach out to,” she said.

“If I’m speaking to a NAB customer, I say, “You’re with NAB and you’ve got a team, NAB Assist, to help”.

Visit NAB’s Financial Hardship page if you’re a NAB customer and need support from Thea and NAB Assist.

For more about NAB in 2022, see our 2022 Full Year Results and 2022 Annual Reporting suite.

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