Speaking at the AltFi conference last week, NAB executive general manager digital and innovation Jonathan Davey told attendees how NAB chooses fintech partners based on what they could bring to the table.
“We’ve partnered where we see another organisation and say ‘they’ve got a level of capability that we could never hope to copy or build ourselves internally and certainly not at the speed of which we’d need to’,” said Mr Davey.
Mr Davey said that it was often not just technology that fintech’s brought with them but a talent pool that could be utilised by the big bank.
“There’s a talent angle as well, as partnerships really does provide us with access to really smart founders that can really help educate and teach NAB about the way our industry continues to change,” he said.
Mr Davey said that NAB had two ways of forming partnerships: one was through equity investment and the other was through other means.
“We have a venture capital $100 million fund and we’ve made a dozen or so investments over the last couple of years. Many of those that we are working in actively in partnerships but we will also look at having a non-equity based partnership where we don’t necessarily think our capital will be able to provide real value,” said Mr Davey.
The key to any partnership though was to help both companies grow and ultimately to reduce friction in the processes said Mr Davey.
“We identify opportunities from a customer perspective to remove friction.
“If we can make it easier for our customers to be able to focus on what they need to do on a day-to-day basis then there is good in that for everyone and more and more we will see those opportunities,” he said.
Not all partnerships would work, said Mr Davey, but it is finding the value in the ones that do that is vital.
“One of the things I’m aware of is that not every partnership is going to work and while the business case can look great not everyone is going to work,” he said.
The challenge was the speed of innovation that needed to happen; therefore the value had to be almost immediately, said Mr Davey.
“We are seeing and will continue to see a real pressure to be able to demonstrate value from these partnerships and in an environment where there is limited investment for these partnerships, being able to demonstrate value is a challenge,” he said.