Making banking personal, simpler and secure is at the heart of how NAB is thinking about what banking looks like in the future, according to NAB’s Chief Digital, Data & Analytics Officer, Angela Mentis.
Speaking at the AFR Banking Summit, Ms Mentis said the bank’s strong technology foundations, coupled with its growing digital and data capabilities, were key to improving customer experiences.
Embedded finance dynamic
“The way that we consider that is where does NAB have to be to deliver banking, which is fast, simple, safe and personal for our customers; and meets their needs and expectations or solves a pain point. We’re moving into a new environment where finance is increasingly platformed,” Ms Mentis said.
“Partnerships between banks and other firms are also increasingly important and we see value facing into that differently for different customer segments. We’re actively developing capability through technology and open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to ensure we can best find our place in that platformed economy with the right partners across different customer segments.”
Ms Mentis said NAB’s partnership with PayPal was a great example.
“Last year, NAB partnered with PayPal to enable their eligible Australian merchant and consumer customers to instantly transfer money out of their PayPal wallets, via the New Payments Platform (NPP) to their Australian bank account. For merchant customers, instant access to funds may help improve cash flow and reduce reliance or eliminate the need for additional credit.”
“Looking to the future of banking, I think we will naturally evolve into more embedded finance scenarios where both consumer and business customers will be able to make payments, or open NAB accounts – for example – from platforms where NAB has partnered.”
The emergence of digital assets to change banking
Whilst Ms Mentis said that NAB remained cautious on offering crypto for retail customers via the bank’s banking app, it was a “watch and see” approach for the future.
“What we’re really interested in is the underlying Blockchain technology and how we can utilise these technologies to solve real customer problems or improve customer experiences,” Ms Mentis said.
“We’ve made a number of investments to help us experiment and learn in this rapidly evolving space of blockchain and tokenisation.”
Ms Mentis pointed to Carbonplace, where NAB is a founding member, together with a consortium of global banks, to help customers transition to a net zero carbon economy.
“Carbonplace enables the buying and selling of voluntary carbon credits through a blockchain carbon settlement system and is an example of how we are investing in blockchain to better serve customers,” said Ms Mentis, who was previously CEO of Bank of New Zealand.
“We also see blockchain technology as particularly useful for customers to simplify high friction transactions which are multi-stage, multi paper processes with several intermediaries, use cases include trade finance and carbon trading.”
NAB recently also invested in Amberdata, which provides comprehensive digital asset data to help bring new products to market, and Geora, a technology platform that uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) and creates a record of ownership for various agricultural commodities and can also monitor the quality of crops and trace them along supply chains.
“Agri supply chains are under pressure to be more sustainable, efficient and secure, and we can support our farmers through our investment,” she said.
Connecting with purpose
Ms Mentis also reinforced the bank’s ambition to attract more tech, digital, data and design talent. NAB has hired 450 tech and digital talent in the past 10 weeks, but still has a vacancy of 700 tech and digital specialists. The company is looking for data analysts, UX/UI designers, software engineers and cyber security consultants.
“People want to work in an inclusive culture where talent can grow their digital, data and design careers. This talent wants to feel a sense of purpose, be engaged in meaningful work and to make an impact to peoples and communities’ lives. It is important that we have a compelling employee proposition so we become a destination of choice for tech and digital talent,” she said.
For more information on NAB tech and digital careers, please visit the careers page here.
Angela Mentis was invited to participate on a panel at the AFR Banking Summit 2022 which focused on the theme “Funding the Recovery.” She joined host James Eyers and fellow panellists, Up’s Dominic Pym and Reinventure Group’s Simon Cant to discuss “The future of banking in 2025.”