Listening and responding to regional Australia
NAB customer and former Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson has joined NAB’s regional listening tour, conducting community consultations across regional Australia, starting with a visit to Gunnedah in the drought-stricken region in northern NSW.
Since Andrew Thorburn’s announcement in Wagga back in July, we’ve held community forums across New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Northern Territory and Queensland. These sessions are designed to focus not only on listening and understanding, but also on doing things differently – so we can be a better bank for regional and rural Australia.
We need to keep listening – and acting
NAB made a commitment to support communities in regional and rural Australia as they change and grow and this tour gives us an opportunity to engage with communities to understand how we can do that better.
As a 6th generation farmer, John understands what local communities need from a bank and how important having these discussions can be.
“People in regional communities want to know that the person on the other side of the counter when they go to the bank is genuine and trustworthy and sincere.
“There will be people who have troubling stories and there will be people who have good relationships with the bank. What they want to know is that NAB is really listening and that it is not just a show and tell exercise.”
Deep industry knowledge and farm visits matter
Across regional communities with a broad range of different issues and challenges, our customers and rural stakeholders have told us that as a bank, we need to support local businesses to grow and be a trusted community leader.
Customers in regional communities also tell us that they love that their bankers visit them on their farms. It’s a people business and when times get tough, having a banker to support them is critical. Banking services are vitally important for farmers and servicing agriculture, and are vital for the wellbeing of the region.
Having helped launch NAB Agribusiness 10 years ago, John Anderson believes that having people know the industry and have deep relationships with their customers makes a real difference to regional communities.
“…that personalised touch is important and dealing with people who understand agriculture, because it is different to most businesses.
“Your heart has to be in it and you have got more variables than most small businesses, particularly with drought, floods and highly volatile markets. I think that’s important and you need people who understand and I think NAB employs people who do understand.”
We need to support customers to learn
We also want to make sure all our customers have a convenient, local way to bank. For example, we have an existing relationship with Australia Post, so our customers can do their banking at their local post office. For us, making sure our customers are aware of the options available is essential.
As a bank we need to continue to support our customers through this time of change and maintain our ongoing support of local communities. The regional listening tour will continue across Australia throughout October with a promise to report back with findings and recommendations.