Discuss about the Strategic Development within NAB.
National Australia Bank (NAB) has been serving the customers in Australia as well as New Zealand for over 150 years and have been providing assistance to their customers in managing their money. Currently, they have over 35,000 people who serve 10 million customers at over 800 locations in not only these two nations but also in other places across the world. The business has been built on the understanding their customers and in providing support to them. Being the largest banking business in Australia, they work with the large, medium as well as small businesses for helping them in starting, running and growing. They provide funding to some of the most vital of the community infrastructures which consist of roads, hospitals and schools in a manner that is innovative, inclusive and responsible. This report will discuss the strategic development of the bank, the past and present strategies applied by it, the business practices that have been criticised, conduct an environmental analysis and describe the organisational culture as well as the leadership style in the National Australia Bank.
Strategies Applied by NAB
The strategy of NAB was refreshed as a result of the changes occurring in the business environment. The current vision of NAB is to be the most respected bank in both Australia as well as New Zealand. It objective is delivering its shareholders with superior returns. In order to meet such objectives, the refreshed strategy has outlined three goals and the performance is measured against these goals. The goals of NAB consist of turning its customers into advocates, engaging its people as well as generation of returns on equity that are attractive. The strategy consists of focusing on the priority segments, delivering customer experiences that are nothing short of great and execute relentlessly as well as flawlessly. The people of NAB are the main enablers of the company’s strategy and its ability in achieving its goals.
While the strategies of NAB were developed, the risks as well as the rewards that were associated with the opportunities available were taken into consideration. This consisted of the markets as well as the customer segments in which the bank operates along with the source and also the extent of differentiation in comparison to the competitors. The external and internal environment which NAB faced was also taken into account.
For the bank to realise its vision, it has to deliver on its strategy. The “strategic priority customer segment” thus partly focuses over the medium, small and micro business customers in the sector of Agribusiness and health industries. Constant innovations are being undertaken in order to simplify things for our 29,000 customers of the agribusiness. The focus is on the more attractive segments of customers and wherein the bank is in the best position of competing by considering factors like the size of the segment, return on equity as well as growth rates and the market share along with capabilities as well as performance. Active reweighing of resources has also been undertaken by NAB towards those business parts which provide support to the priority segments for not only strengthening their capabilities but also deepening the relationships that the bank shares with its customers.
The Bank also has an understanding that delivering customer experiences that are great is critical in order to attain success in the priority segments and in face of the challenges as well as the opportunities that the external environment and the digital transformation has brought about. The focus is on making life simple for the customers, adopting innovations for them and developing deep relationships with them. The focus will be on execution with the aim of improving the way business is carried out and for managing change. It is progressing towards an organisation that is performance driven. It has been executing changes well, bringing about transformations in processes for speed as well as reliability and maintaining its foundations (NAB, 2015).
Criticisms of the Business Practices
Two of the business practices of NAB were at the receiving end of criticism in the past. In the first instance in 2002, the bank was accused of breaking an agreement which although unwritten was aimed towards restoring the tattered reputation of the banking industry. As per this, the plan of NAB for closing 56 branches in the rural areas ignored an understanding that was present between the top bankers club of avoiding taking such measures that would result in causing further damage to the public image of the banking industry. This has resulted in a community outrage against NAB which even prompted another bank ANZ offering NAB to purchase its branches. This happened at a time when the image of the banking industry was already quite weak. For the sake of earning profits in the short term, the banks risked its image. The outcome was that NAB said that it would be offering services in the towns that were affected by means of post offices (Sydney Morning Herald, 2002).
The second business practice of NAB that came under criticism in the recent years were the revelations that the financial advice arm of the bank was involved in forging the signature of the clients as well as in file reconstructions. It was also involved in giving poor advice which resulted in compensation payouts for few of the clients. This is a way underscored the problem which was existing in the industry of financial advice of Australia (Ferguson & Williams, 2015).
The report also explained that in the previous five years, there were instances where the planners of NAB had not only forged the signatures of the clients but also manipulated the files of the clients in order to cover up their poor compliance. Certain major incidents were ongoing. The bad behaviour on the part of the bank’s financial wing was detected as a result of the complaints that the clients lodged and also the queries that were out forward by the regulators. This business practice enraged the staff and they came to belief that the bank was still fostering profit over everything else.The outcome of this business practice was the suspension, termination and resignations of 31 financial planners of NAB as well as the aligned advisers in the last two years as a result of inappropriate advice, conflicting interests, practices that were inappropriate and serious repetition of breaches in compliance. 6 more people were sacked from an advice network owned by NAB – Meritum which had 110 planners. It also led to calls for broader reforms in order to protect the consumers from the advisers who are unscrupulous (Ferguson & Williams, 2015).
Environmental Analysis for the Involvement of the Organisation in the Context of the Industry that it Operates In
A massive overhaul in the financial system of Australia has been introduced with the aim of acting as a bulwark for securing the system in case there is shocks in future like a financial crisis on a global scale. The aim is ironing out the several competitive inequities which exist in the system that result in disadvantages to the regional banks that are smaller and at the same time also acknowledge the fact that the financial landscape is being changed by the digital revolution and is bringing in new entrants which have to be accommodated inside the regulatory framework (Knight, 2014).
The banking sector has over 60 commercial banks. The central bank is the “Reserve Bank of Australia” which is at the apex. For safeguarding and improving this sector a number of reforms have been implemented by the Government. This has resulted in increased number of banks. At present the banking system in Australia is among the most developed worldwide. The country has a “substantial bank-based” development of the financial sector through the years by means of reforms which have increased the strength of the institutional framework. However, challenges exist in the form of exposure and concentration (Nyasha & Odhiambo, 2013).
Swot Analysis of NAB
- Brand name is strong
- It is among the leading financial players with products as well as services which are diverse.
- The bank has a good revenue as well as interest income
- It offers financial services in personal as well as business categories
- The decline that has occurred in revenue is having an affect on growth
- Absence of global acclaim
- It can expand into other nations
- Diversification of portfolios
- Centre for asset management
- JVs and acquisitions
- Stiff competition faced from other market players
- Changes in the rules and regulations of the Government and financial crisis
Organisational Structure and Leadership Style at NAB
The NAB recently made announcements regarding changes in its organisational structure and also in its Executive Leadership Team in order to drive constant emphasis on its businesses in Australia as well as New Zealand. According to the CEO of the NAB Group, Andrew Thorburn, the successful demerger along with IPO of Clydesdale Bank which took place in the early part of 2016, and also the 80% sale of the Life Insurance Business almost in the completion phase, the time was right was driving into the following stage of changes in the organisation. Such changes are expected to usher higher degree of momentum as well as energy to the goal of the organisation to be customer focused and more simple. It would also assist the organisation in delivering both the shareholders and the customers with better outcomes (NAB, 2016).
The organisational structure consists of an executive leadership team which is headed by the NAB Group CEO Andrew Thorburn (NAB, 2016). The organisation is highly passionate about its values as they help in capturing the essence related to their aspirational culture and are a reflection of their deep care for the way of doing things. They provide guidance to the behaviours, actions and decisions while interacting with each other, the communities and the customers. The values that act as guiding principles in inspiring them for meeting the customer needs and achieving the strategy are as passion for their customers, a willingness to win, being bold, respecting people and doing the correct thing (NAB, 2016).
The leadership style of NAB’s Chief Executive Andrew Thorburn is participative. He is seen many times to use blunt language that is mostly avoided deliberately by the other business leaders. However, his focus has been on the people all through his career and has the experience of leading a large organisation on markets that were mature (Yeates, 2014). He has the capacity of quietly motivating his staff although he himself maintains a low profile. He believes in developing a strong culture of leadership (Eyers et al., 2014).
The leadership style which is participative places value on the inputs that the team members provide. However, the responsibility of taking the final decision is that of the participative or democratic leader. Such a leader boosts the morale of the employees as employees contribute to the process of decision making. In case there are changes that are required to be made in the organisation, such a style of leadership assists the employees in accepting the changes easily as they have been a part of that change process. Such a style is able to face challenges when decisions have to be made by the organisations in short time periods (Bell & Mjoli, 2014).
The paper analysed the development of strategic leadership at NAB. It was observed that the organisation has undergone changes in its strategy to become more focused on the segments that are the priority ones, on enhancing the experiences of the customers and also on carrying out execution in a manner that is relentless and flawless. The organisation faced criticism in the past regarding its business practices but was able to come out of it. Recently, there were changes in the organisational structure and the currently there is a Group CEO for NAB with an Executive Leadership Team. The core values of NAB comprise making investments in people and also their development so that the strategies can be executed in a successful manner. The style of leadership of the Group CEO is participative which facilities changes to take place in the organisation.
- Bell, C. & Mjoli, T., 2014. The Effects of Prticipative Leadership on Organisational Committment. African Journal of Business Management, 8(12), pp.451-59.
- Eyers, J., Moullakis, J. & Wilkins, G., 2014. NAB surprises market by naming Andrew Thorburn as next CEO. James Eyers, Joyce Moullakis and Georgia Wilkins, 3 April.
- Ferguson, A. & Williams, R., 2015. Whistleblower's NAB leak reveals persistent bad behaviour in financial planning, fuels royal commission calls. Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February.
- Knight, E., 2014. The banking sector reform will affect every Australian. The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 December.
- NAB, 2015. 2015 - Annual Review NAB. [Online] Available at: https://www.nab.com.au/content/dam/nabrwd/About-Us/shareholder%20centre/documents/annual-review-interactive.pdf [Accessed 3 September 2016].
- NAB, 2016. Executive Leadership Team. [Online] Available at: https://www.nab.com.au/about-us/our-business-at-a-glance/executive-leadership-team [Accessed 3 September 2016].
- NAB, 2016. Nab Announces Oraganisational Structure and Executive Leadership Changes.[Online] Available at: https://news.nab.com.au/nab-announces-organisational-structure-and-executive-leadership-changes/ [Accessed 3 September 2016].
- NAB, 2016. Our Values. [Online] Available at: https://www.nab.com.au/about-us/corporate-responsibility/responsibility-management-of-our-business/high-performing-diverse-and-inclusive-workforce/our-values [Accessed 3 September 2016].
- Nyasha, S. & Odhiambo, N.M., 2013. The Australian Banking Sector Reforms: Progress and Challenges. Corporate Ownership and Control, 10(4).
- Sydney Morning Herald, 2002. NAB breaks code of behaviour. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 April. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/04/14/1018333454094.html [Accessed 3 September 2016].
- Yeates, C., 2014. Andrew Thorburn, NAB's new straight shooter with a messianic touch. The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 July.