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It is one thing for a bank to say it is listening to the needs of its customers, but quite another to see real and measurable changes actually take place. However, that is exactly what has been happening at the National Australia Bank – one of Australia’s most prominent financial institutions – using a dedicated strategy to improve the levels of trust and transparency between banks and the community. NAB and MLC are the leading brands of the Australian division of the National Australia Bank Group, a major financial services organisation that operates both domestically and in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, the United States and Asia.
MLC is the wealth management division and provides investment, superannuation, insurance and private wealth solutions, and supports the provision of quality financial advice through its financial planning networks.
NAB services millions of customers everyday through its personal, business and wholesale banking operations across Australia. Together they work to be consumer champions within their industry and market leaders in the provision of financial services. In an effort to focus on their commitment to doing the right thing by their customers and the communities in which they operate, NAB has recently re-written its mission statement under the title Our Beliefs and Behaviours (see Figure 2.)
Figure 1: MLC and NAB offer a range of financial products and services.
A successful business is often measured by how well it responds to changing needs within the marketplace. To keep up with these changes, innovative business practices are necessary – quite simply, a business cannot continue to do things the way they always have and expect to remain ahead of the market. A good example of this is the recent Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The GFC was a catalyst for consumers worldwide to become more cautious in regards to managing their finances, with many sensibly paying off or reducing their debts. In light of the turbulent economic conditions, NAB realised it had to look at things differently.
With their ‘Beliefs and Behaviours’ in mind, they set about creating a fairer business model. They wanted to do more than just run some sort of marketing gimmick or glossy advertisements. A number of initiatives were developed with the aim of providing a fairer “value exchange” between the business and their customers, including abolishing fees, increasing transparency in the fee structure for financial advice and improving access to financial services for those excluded from mainstream banking.
Figure 2: NAB’s Beliefs and Behaviours guiding their business decisions and actions.