Addressing shareholders at the major bank’s AGM on Wednesday, Mr McEwan outlined his five priorities, which have also been made clear to the group’s 34,000 employees.
1. Get the basis right
“The first is to get the basics right for every customer, every time so they can rely on us and know what to expect,” the NAB chief said.
2. Strengthen the bank
A second focus for the new CEO is to ensure NAB remains a safe and secure bank. This ensuring the bank has a strong capital base and liquidity to fund customer needs.
Mr McEwan also said the bank will need “resilient systems and technology that flex, move and meet the demand of customers.”
3. Improve culture
This is a major priority for every financial institution and has been on the prudential regulator’s radar.
“It will be our colleagues who, working together, will do the right thing for our customers and ensure we deliver more consistently. We need to make NAB a good place to work, with a culture that supports our aspirations,” Mr McEwan said.
4. Simplify the bank
One of the most overused expressions among major bank bosses in recent years has been a promise to create a “better, simpler bank”. NAB’s CEO uses a similar party line: “To use these foundations to make it easy for customers to do business with us – when, and where and how they want to. We all need to remember that we exist because our customers choose to do business with us.”
“When we put these four elements together, we will grow,” Mr McEwan said. “Our focus is to grow safely, in a way that does not compromise long-term sustainability and success; and importantly trust. When we get these things right, we will be a good bank that delivers good, consistent returns to you, our shareholders. It starts and ends by getting the basics right and delivering consistently and reliably.”