Backing Australian SME growth with a new approach

At NAB we see the amazing opportunities ahead for our key sectors – from health to agriculture, education to community – and are determined that our country’s small and medium sized enterprises, our country’s engine room, can embrace them.

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Innovation. Global thinking. Access to new opportunities. These are things that matter to our business customers – and the reason why we’re structuring our business to suit what you need. We understand what will help you move ahead and make a difference – and we want to work with you to set you up for success.

Today, health, agriculture and education represent almost a quarter of the Australian workforce. That’s hardly surprising. Together, the three sectors account for 15 per cent of our economy and are among our top six most productive industries when compared to global peers.

Other sectors will benefit from increasing demand, too. Professional services is slated for growth, as are a number of emerging sectors and growth corridors, propelled by factors ranging from newly-imagined technologies to population growth.

Inevitably, specialist business will play a crucial role in the future prosperity of Australia.

Good news for SMEs, with a little help

It’s with this in mind that NAB’s Chief Customer Officer of Business and Private Banking, Anthony Healy, is keen to encourage Australia’s SMEs to ‘go forth and grow’.

Our commitment to SMEs and investment in their success is behind our new operating model in NAB’s Business and Private Banking division. We will bring teams together in local geographies to further support our customers, sharpen our focus on specialisation and support our growth ambition

Called ‘NAB Partners’, the new geographic model is about bringing local leadership and the best of the business bank directly to customers, through a single leader in each geographic area. It’s about ensuring local leaders and their teams can focus support customers in their growth strategies through leveraging NAB’s deeper, specialist industry knowledge.

The NAB Partners – Regional & Agri business will be focused on our customers in regional and rural locations around Australia. NAB Partners – Northern will focus on SME customers in metro locations in Northern Australia and NAB Partners – Southern will focus on SME customers in metro locations in Southern Australia.

Added to this, we have established a new division – Growth Sectors.

Led by Cameron Fuller as Customer Executive, the business will focus on deepening and strengthening our specialisation. Cameron will work closely with our NAB Partners business to grow NAB’s priority segments, focusing on agriculture, health, education and community, professional services, private banking and emerging sectors.

NAB Partners and Growth Sectors are significant markers of our commitment to local Australian businesses and two important steps towards our goal of becoming the world’s best business bank.

Towards the best

NAB is already Australia’s largest bank for SME customers. We have strong banker capability, customer centricity, distribution reach and industry knowledge and specialisation. As we continue to hone and develop our offering, our goal is to be not just the largest bank in Australia for SME customers but the world’s best business bank.

The change to the NAB Partners model is a key step towards that goal.

It will help us better focus our attention on serving and creating value for customers, and we are putting significant investment behind the program.

In the next three years we’ll substantially increase our number of specialist industry bankers. In fact, in certain sectors, for example health, we’re looking to double our specialist banker numbers.

We’ll also extend and improve our offerings for the small business segment – such a vital growth engine for the Australian economy – including developing and delivering sophisticated solutions for entrepreneurs and growth businesses. Already, recent improvements we’ve made include faster approval times, simpler documentation and easier products. Small business specialists are now available on the phone from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and from 9am to 6pm Saturday and Sunday.

Australian businesses have a bright future locally and globally, and at NAB we’re committed to being the bank that best supports our business owners and private customers to be bold, confident and empowered to create the worlds they want.

We thank Cindy Batchelor for her great work over the last three years as NAB Business Executive General Manager, and wish her the best as she moves into the next stage of her career.

Taking over from Cindy as the face of Business View, Anthony looks forward to sharing with you each month a range of articles and information on the trends and issues facing SMEs, and how we can continue to support you and innovate for you in your business growth and success.