NAB's fight against unfair banking starts to pay dividends

Monday, 5 April 2010

National Australia Bank reassured customers again today it would not move its standard variable interest rate beyond any change the RBA makes to the official cash rate in April, confirming its fairer banking approach was attracting more customers than ever before.

For 10 consecutive months, NAB has offered the best standard variable home loan interest rate amongst the major banks. Since December NAB’s standard variable interest rate has been 0.27% less than the most expensive major bank, saving customers with a $300k home loan $68 a month in interest.

NAB Personal Banking Group Executive, Lisa Gray, said: “We remain committed to putting competition and choice back into banking for Australians. It is integral to our long-term business strategy which is unashamedly competitive and commercial - attracting new customers and retaining existing ones - and part of a game changing Fair Value agenda.

“Over recent months we have seen an increase in the number of Australians coming to NAB. This has been across a range of products, but particularly personal transaction accounts and home loans.

“Last week the Australian Prudential and Regulatory Authority (APRA) and the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) both confirmed that for the first time in five years NAB outperformed the financial system in home lending growth during February.

“In addition, we’ve signed up over 145,000 new transaction accounts between October 2009 and February
2010 – over 50% of those were new to NAB customers.”

Ms Gray attributed the uplift in customers joining NAB to the following factors:

  • In 2009 NAB entered into a strategic alliance with rediATM operator Cuscal to provide customers of both networks greater access to direct charge fee-free ATM access.
  • In September 2009 NAB led the banking industry by abolishing a number of the most disliked fees across its most popular personal transaction and savings accounts
  • NAB was the only major bank in December 2009 not to move interest rates above the RBA’s change to the official cash rate. Again this month, NAB is assuring customers it will not move beyond any change to the official cash rate made by the RBA at its April Board Meeting on Tuesday.
  • In January NAB abolished the $4 and $5 monthly account service fees on its most popular everyday personal transaction accounts; as well as some of the most disliked fees on business banking accounts, benefiting over 500,000 business account holders.
  • During the height of the GFC and in a time when competitors were retreating from the market, NAB supported business lending ahead of system, lending $35 billion to SME Australian businesses in 2009, growing its overall SME lending book by $5bn to in excess of $100bn.
  • Over three years NAB is investing $155 million, more than ever before, to open, refurbish and relocate branches to more convenient locations; and over 2010 NAB will also open five new Business Banking Centres. By 2011, NAB will have recruited over 500 new business bankers and specialists across Australia since 2009.

“Our agenda is about providing a fairer ‘value exchange’ between us, our customers, our people, our shareholders and the broader community. This notion was lost over the last several years but we are
determined to show Australians that NAB stands for something different,” Ms Gray said.

“In the longer term, I think we will change the economic model for retail banking in Australia; so that as our
customers grow and increase their wealth, we will share in that and banks won't be encouraged to turn a blind eye when people aren't managing their money well. That's how we believe banking should be for all Australians.”

Media contacts:

Luisa Ford
NAB Personal Banking
Mob: 0411 024 104

Gillian Griffiths
NAB Personal Banking
Mob: 0419 667 783