NAB joins the bank culture shift

National Australia Bank has unveiled its latest corporate strategy focussing on rebuilding service levels with customers and other stakeholders. Called ‘Growth through excellent relationships', the strategy has five objectives: meet customers' financial needs, build trusted relationships with stakeholders, build businesses for strong shareholder returns, maintain a high-performance culture, and create and leverage assets for competitive advantage.

All the major banks are now in the process of laying down new strategies based around rebuilding credibility in the eyes of customers after years on anti-bank sentiment. There is a recognition that the easy wins in growing profits by cutting staff and closing branches are behind them. The key to future profit growth lies in winning customers over with satisfactory service in order to garner higher shares of their banking and investment business. Achieving this, however, requires overhauling corporate culture.

NAB CEO Frank Cicutto emphasised “integrated financial services”, or selling a bundle of financial products such as loans, deposits, superannuation and insurance to the same customers. The issue for NAB and the other big banks is whether they have the personnel skills to achieve this.
AMP's wide network of financial planners is seen as part of the answer and one reasons NAB is said to be interested in the insurance and investment giant.