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NAB’s December quarter trading update, released this week, shows profits slipped by 1 per cent to $1.6 billion while the group net interest margin remained unchanged.
“We have made a solid start to 2017 with our ongoing focus on high returning, priority customer segments continuing to deliver. Our revenue is up, asset quality is again a strength and our capital position remains sound,” NAB group CEO Andrew Thorburn said.
“In December, we also announced a new, five-year strategic partnership with realestate.com.au which will create a seamless experience to find both the right property and the right loan to suit customers’ needs,” he said.
“These initiatives are examples of how we are working hard to find new and better ways to serve customers and grow our business.”
The deal will see consumers access a suite of NAB home loans, a realestate.com.au branded white label product, as well as a panel of other lenders.
The partnership reflects a critical turning point in the future of Australian mortgage distribution and in time could be viewed as a model for the coupling of banks and online, digitally-savvy players.
However, the NAB chief recognised that the current operating environment remains challenging.
“While the Australian and New Zealand economies remain resilient and continue to deliver solid growth, the operating environment has some challenges with funding costs remaining elevated and competition still intense,” Mr Thorburn said.
“We remain focused on executing against our strategic priorities to ensure we can grow in a sustainable way while managing our business responsibly for all stakeholders.”
Mr Thorburn noted that technology is an “essential part” of improving the customer experience and making it easier, simpler and more convenient for customers to do business with NAB.
“This quarter, we relaunched our mobile banking app, designed based on what our customers told us they need and want,” he said.
“The new app makes it much quicker for customers to perform simple tasks like logging in, checking balances and paying bills, and includes innovative new functionality allowing customers to self-manage several important elements of their NAB debit and credit cards such as temporary blocks, replacing damaged cards and overseas travel.”