National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced that it will be hiring 500 new employees in a bid to grow its business and private banking franchise and provide more support to Australian business through the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking of the recruitment drive, NAB group executive for business and private banking, Andrew Irvine, said it was critical to support small businesses during the pandemic and “get the engine room of the economy firing again”.
“Businesses will drive Australia’s economic recovery and rebound, and NAB wants to be there to support them,” Mr Irvine said.
“We have a long history of serving businesses, and we are ambitious about helping Australia emerge from this crisis in a strong position. There is a significant investment in new jobs and demonstrates our commitment to be the bank of choice for Australian businesses.”
The announcement of the recruitment drive has followed NAB’s earlier moves to recruit for 52 roles for its private bank and 400 people to directly support customers experiencing hardship during COVID-19.
The new employees were brought in to launch an initiative to contact borrowers who had deferred their mortgage payments, granted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another major bank, Westpac, announced in July that it would onshore 1,000 jobs following “challenging conditions for home lending processing and call centres”, amid a surge in demand for customer assistance at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As well as supporting call centres, the new roles will provide processing and operational assistance to functions like home lending and consumer finance.
New SME Guarantee Scheme product
The major bank has also announced that in response to the federal government’s revised Coronavirus SME Guarantee Scheme, it has launched a loan designed for small businesses, offering up to $1 million with no repayments required in the first six months.
The new phase of the scheme launched this month, quadrupling the maximum loan size from $250,000 per borrower to $1 million per borrower, allowing secured products and increasing from its current three-year limit to five years.
Under the NAB Business Support Loan, the bank will provide a longer term of five years and has expanded the loan’s funding purposes to assist those small businesses with an annual turnover of less than $50 million recover from the pandemic.
Principal and interest repayments will apply only after an initial six-month repayment holiday.
Businesses will be able to access the loan until 30 June 2021. The loan will be available at a variable rate of 4.5 per cent for unsecured lending and 3.6 per cent per annum for secured lending.
According to the bank, it had approved 6,235 loans under the federal government’s Coronavirus Small and Medium Enterprises Guarantee Scheme during its first phase.
The major bank is one of three lenders to have been confirmed for the second phase, alongside Westpac and non-bank lender GetCapital.
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.