We are focused on delivering a great customer experience through improving the performance of our Australian and New Zealand business, maintaining a strong balance sheet, investing in digital technology and enhancing the capabilities of our people.
Twelve months ago we clearly set out our strategic plan. I am pleased with the progress we are making against our priorities.
Our Australian and New Zealand business is performing well with all of our business units contributing to our results.
Our Wealth business has shown a significant improvement since 2013, which has enabled us to secure a long term partnership with Nippon Life, one of the world’s leading life insurers. This partnership will allow us to continue to deliver insurance solutions to our customers while improving Wealth returns for shareholders.
Wealth products remain crucial to our business and our customers, which is why we are injecting an additional $300 million into NAB Wealth in our superannuation platforms, advice and asset management business over the next four years. This will allow us to deliver a great customer experience while driving a closer relationship between our banking and wealth businesses.
Our leadership team has put in a significant effort to address legacy assets and pleasingly for our shareholders the demerger and IPO of our UK operations, Clydesdale Bank and Yorkshire Bank, is expected to be completed in early February 2016.
Personal Banking has had another strong year and while Business Banking trends in our priority SME segments are promising, the environment remains very competitive and we remain focused on driving better performance in this business. We’ve put more than 330 additional bankers on the frontline and invested in their capability in our priority segments, which are SMEs, micro-business, debt free and mortgage customers.
In 2015, we have achieved significant technology milestones, which will deliver a better customer experience. Currently in pilot, the rollout of the Personal Banking Origination Platform (PBOP) will allow our personal banking customers to use one platform to apply for multiple products. This will result in quicker decision times and customers will be able to track the progress of their application. We have also successfully modernised our data centres, which will future proof our business. We value the trust our customers place in us and we’re putting the right technology and teams in place to protect our customers’ information as well as delivering a faster and more reliable service.
Customer-led innovation is crucial in the rapidly changing digital space and I’m proud of the work of our innovation hub, NAB Labs, which develops new customer focused concepts that can be rapidly commercialised.
Over the year we have continued to strengthen our balance sheet. In May, in anticipation of regulatory change and to facilitate our exit from the UK, we announced the raising of $5.5 billion in capital through a fully underwritten rights issue. In addition, a focus on maintaining risk standards has contributed to further improvements in asset quality.
This was our first year of adopting the Net Promoter System (NPS), which measures the strength of our customers’ advocacy. NPS is now embedded in our leaders’ scorecards, helping us to deliver for our customers.
We’ve also put a renewed focus on culture, articulating five values: Passion for customers, Will to win, Be bold, Respect for people and Do the right thing. Living these values consistently will create value for our customers and shareholders. I am very pleased with the significant improvement in our employee engagement, which is up ten percentage points and above the financial services average.
Our vision is to be the most respected bank in Australia and New Zealand.
In 2016, our business will be stronger. We will be focused on improved and consistent returns for our shareholders and delivering a great customer experience.
We want to make it easy for our customers, and to support them through specialist advice and insights. We will continue the focus on our priority segments, where we have capability, passion and can win.
We will also focus on future proofing our business with a focus on three key elements: technology simplification, process excellence and our footprint for a digital world.
As a Bank, we have some significant and specific risks and these need to be handled with discipline and rigour. This means we will constantly focus on areas such as capital allocation, return for risk and maintaining a strong balance sheet.
Our people are a top priority, building their capabilities and mindset will be a key driver of our performance and success.
Our leadership in the community is important and we will continue to work with Good Shepherd Microfinance to assist vulnerable Australians and those that are financially excluded. We have a target by 2018 to support one million Australians who are financially excluded and we are on track to do so.
We also want to continue to be social innovators and develop funding solutions for the renewable energy industry. We launched a $300 million dollar climate bond, the first by an Australian issuer into the local market.
Finally, I want to thank our people for their incredible effort and hard work this year and their passion for our customers.
I would like to thank departing Chairman, Michael Chaney, for his sound stewardship of the Bank over the last decade. He has overseen the Bank during some significant challenges including the Global Financial Crisis. NAB is in a much stronger position today, with a more focused strategy and stronger balance sheet. We wish him well for the future. I’d also like to warmly welcome incoming Chair, Dr Ken Henry and I look forward to working with him.
It is a privilege to be the CEO of this great business. We have made significant progress this year and I am excited and energised by the year ahead. We still have a lot to achieve but my leadership team and I are committed to improving returns for you, our loyal shareholders.
Andrew Thorburn, Group CEO