National Australia Bank , NAB, branded nab, is one of the largest financial institutions and banks in Australia in terms of market capitalisation and customers. NAB is ranked 17th largest bank in the world measured by market capitalisation. It operates across 10 countries serving 8.3 million consumer and business banking customers and over 2.3 million wealth management customers.
NAB operates 1,808 branches and service centres and 4654 ATMs globally. NAB has a "AA" senior debt rating by S&P.
New CEO & new strategy
Since his appointment in January 2009, CEO Cameron Clyne has undertaken a strategy of reputation change, wealth management and a focus on Australia.
Price competition in Retail banking
As part of this strategy, NAB's relatively weak retail bank has - under the leadership of Lisa Gray - attempted to increase market share by competing on price and cutting fees. The likely success of this strategy is still at question, but it did reduce the Retail bank's profit significantly.
The post GFC environment has allowed the bank to close a number of acquisitions:
In June 2009 it paid A$825m ($660m:£401m) for UK insurer Aviva's Australian wealth management businesses, including their Navigator platform. NAB beat off competition from AMP for Navigator.In July 2009 NAB acquired an 80% stake in the private wealth management division of Goldman Sachs JBWere, for A$99m.
In August 2009, NAB acquired the mortgage business of Challenger Financial Services for $385 million. This purchase also includes PLAN, Choice, and FAST mortgage aggregation businesses and approximately 17.5% in Homeloans Ltd.
NAB also purchased a small US bank for $75 million in June 2010.
Foreign currency trader staff fraud
In 2004, NAB discovered that as a result of unauthorised spot trades on its foreign currency options desk, losses totalling A$360 million had been covered up. Investigations by Price Waterhouse Coopers and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority highlighted a need for cultural change. The losses were a result of a failed speculative position where the traders falsified profits to trigger bonuses over a number of years. In order to actually generate the reported profits, the traders speculated on the US dollar, betting that it would rise against the Australian dollar and other currencies. In 2006, two former NAB foreign currency options traders were sentenced on charges brought by ASIC and incurred jail terms.
New CEO and turnaround (2004-2009)
In February 2004, John Stewart was appointed CEO of NAB following the sacking of Frank Cicutto. John proceeded with a far reaching re-organisation of the company along regional lines leading to the appointment of Ahmed Fahour as the CEO of Australia in September 2004.
In 2005, NAB announced a cut of 2,000 Australian jobs as part of a global cost-cutting program with the intention of cutting around 4,200 positions – about 10.5% of its total workforce globally.
It began to outsource back office positions offshore, beginning with a pilot with 23 jobs from the accounts payable department in Melbourne going to Bangalore, India in an agreement with Accenture. Later that year, it sold Northern Bank and National Irish Bank to the Danish Danske Bank. Over 200 additional jobs had been sent offshore by 2006.
Launch of UBank (2008)
In October 2008, NAB launched a branchless direct bank bank trading separately as "UBank. NAB stated it aimed to attract new retail customers while operating independently to its other retail brands, and in its 2009 annual report, NAB claimed that this strategy had been "successful.
UBank operates under NAB's banking licence and participates in the Australian government's new deposit guarantee scheme. Deposits were said to exceed over $500 million in one month. UBank was reported to be the first beneficiary of NAB's broad ranging technology replatforming project dubbed "NextGen.
UBank was cited as an example of effective use of nontraditional marketing such as social media, but also uses traditional marketing such as print and television. NAB claimed UBank's "customer advocacy and satisfaction levels" to be "amongst the highest of any institution in Australia" In August 2009, UBank launched a new online savings account ("USaver") that was reported to differentiate through its easy online application process. In its 2009 annual report, NAB claimed "almost 10,000 new customers in a month" for UBank's USaver product.