We are here to help Australians to the other side of this crisis

In the last five days NAB took more calls than we would normally take in an entire year from customers seeking financial support to stay afloat.

That’s 25,000 individuals and small businesses already needing access to Coronavirus relief. More than 200,000 customers called us or visited NAB’s branches, looking for assistance or advice.

There will be more to come.

Throughout my career I have never seen anything as instant as the impact of coronavirus. We haven’t experienced anything like this before, so there is no playbook.

This is a human crisis. Many of us already have friends, colleagues or loved ones who are ill or in quarantine. And many have lost their jobs. Social distancing means we can’t always seek comfort from those we’d usually turn to.

We have quickly had to change the way we live. The impact on livelihoods has been rapid and crippling.

While it is hard to predict exactly how sharp the decline will be, it is clear we are heading towards a deep recession.

During this period of uncertainty, more than ever, banks play an important role. Through every challenge we’ve faced together as a nation, our support has remained – and it will remain today.

Banks have built up capital buffers to provide stability in times like these. Our financial system is resilient and banks are well-capitalised by both historical and international standards.

We are providing significant relief to businesses and homebuyers in need, by pausing or deferring payments over the next six months as we all deal with this unprecedented situation. A business that was strong before coronavirus hit can be strong again after it.

Banks are just one lever in the economic response to coronavirus. We strongly support the actions the Government is taking to protect Australians – and to keep the economy moving.

In partnership with the Government, we are providing eligible businesses in need of a quick cash flow injection with a $250,000 loan at 4.5% with no repayments required in the first six months.

It won’t be until the end of that period of time, that we start to see which customers have found their way through these difficulties and those who are still struggling.

In these rapidly changing conditions, we are also being challenged to quickly shift and find ways to do things differently so we can keep supporting our customers.

The thing I’ve asked of people is just to be very patient. We’re putting more and more staff in to our customer-facing teams.

Our branch network is still operating. We’ve got about 750 of our colleagues going into training for our already 1500-strong contact centre workforce. And remembering too, a lot of the things that you could normally do in a branch you can now do online.

We want to get as many customers as we can, both individuals and businesses over this hurdle.

Some of NAB’s customers today are ones we supported through the GFC and I know that on the other side of this, many customers will start growing again.

But while much of the economy will pick up when the virus passes, it will take a long time to get back to where we were before.

Through this, we will stay open for business. We are here to help Australians to the other side of this crisis.


Ross McEwan, NAB CEO




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