The National Australia Bank has recorded its eighth consecutive increase in profit. In the chairman's address at the bank's AGM, Mark Rayner said that NAB has established a global presence with more than 12 million customers around the world and 47 per cent of profit coming from outside Australia.
Irrespective of its overseas success, Rayner said that building local community confidence is important to the future growth of NAB. "The issue of what Australians think about banks, bank service, branch closures and fees is a problem for our industry as a whole and for each of us individually."
Rayner attributed part of NAB's success to its e-business strategy, which he claimed would serve community interests.
He broke down NAB's overall e-business strategy to three broad parts: the acceleration of the use of digital and online technology to improve manufacturing, processing and administration; the use of web-based technology to improve customer services; and the establishment of its 02-e Ltd initiative, to identify and accelerate the company's involvement in businesses using advanced computing and communications technology.
"A core strategy of NAB is to ensure we take advantage of the opportunities provided by rapid developments in digital technology and electronic commerce," said Rayner. "Our internet banking grew strongly in Australia last year. We will continue to upgrade this service."
NAB is working with the Australian Bankers Association "to rebuild community consultation and, ultimately, trust". As part of this rebuilding process, Rayner said he hopes to develop and offer the public more user-friendly electronic banking in his final months as chairman of the ABA.
"We are continually looking at making electronic banking more user-friendly, particularly for older customers and for people with disabilities. For example, our hearing-impaired customers can now use telephone typewriter facilities to do their banking."
Rayner also discussed other internet initiatives in the financial sector that NAB could explore. He cited recently announced partnership between HomeSide and Fannie Mae, a large financial services companies in the US. "Together, they have developed a sophisticated online mortgage origination process that we believe will boost the use of the internet for home loans in the US."
Courtesy The Industry Standard