National Australia Bank to offer 'lite' choice on its financial advice
National Australia Bank will train all its tellers to provide "lite" financial advice as it moves to shrink the size of its branches by about 25 per cent and embrace digital technology.
NAB's executive general manager retail Vicki Carter said the nature of the branches was changing as more and more people migrated to online banking.
In the past year, the number of branch transactions slipped 10 per cent, while mobile internet banking soared 111 per cent.
Ms Carter said bankers would deal less and less with transactions, providing more "lite advice" to customers.
"The reality is that a lot of Australians won't pay $4000, $5000 for a financial plan," she said. "But many Australians still need help with simple rollover products, their superannuation products and their simple protection needs. That is unfilled at present, so ... this is actually a gap in the market."
But Ms Carter said NAB would still employ qualified financial planners across 15 per cent of its branches, referring the more complex customer needs to them.
"We don't see our wealth referrals changing for more sophisticated needs and, in fact, they are at record high numbers currently."
The lite advice is part of NAB's strategy to continue to increase market share. In the past three years, its slice of the mortgage market has jumped from 13.3 per cent to 15.3 per cent, helping lift its personal banking division profit from $743 million to $1.23 billion.
"Most of the mortgages that we write out are with our existing customers," Ms Carter said. "We know if we look after our 24 to 30-year-olds' wealth, help them with their first foray into credit, help them as they need that lite advice and simple superannuation and so on, that they will become our future mortgage customers."
NAB and ANZ took the lion's share of the $3.8 billion in mortgages sold in the past month, with their mortgage books growing 6.9 per cent and 7.1 per cent respectively. This compared with the broader mortgage market growing 5.5 per cent.
NAB's group executive for personal banking Gavin Slater was adamant the bank would not "dilute" its risk settings or lending standards as part of its efforts to continue to grow market share. "For us, the competition has been, one, around price, absolutely, and, two, a big component of it has been around service," he said. "We want to grow but we want to do it in the right way."
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