National Australia Bank will hire work-from-home employees as part of its latest recruitment drive to assist in the surge in demand for digital banking.
The major banking group is set to hire 150 new staff in South Australia, and they will work remotely full-time to assist in the growing adoption of online banking.
It is the first time NAB has hired remote-only workers who will be based off site and not have a dedicated office space.
NAB head of personal banking, Rachel Slade said close to 90 pent of customers were now conducting their everyday banking online, and since the start of the pandemic, roughly 25 per cent of home loan applications were being conducted via video interviews.
“We are really seeing a change in the way customers are engaging with us,” Ms Slade told NCA NewsWire.
“We also have learned (over the pandemic) our colleagues can pretty much work anywhere.”
Ms Slade flagged the decision to recruit in South Australia was in part to broaden its employment pool, which is traditionally skewed towards major cities Melbourne and Sydney.
NAB is reviewing its branch network, and it is understood some areas where there are multiple retail points in proximity could be consolidated.
It is also implementing “cashless” branches, where in-person cash and cheque depositing will not be offered. The first version of the new branch style is set to be implemented in the eastern Melbourne region of Casey.
Ms Slade noted the role of branches had changed, but they were still vital services, particularly for larger and more invested financial services such as mortgages and business lending.
“Branches are always going to be really important part of banking,” she said.
“We are making them more aligned to what customers are doing there, which is not to go stand in a queue and cash a cheque. It is to do something a lot more complicated.”
The bank will be monitoring retention levels of the work-from-home cohort in order to determine if the new format can be rolled out nationally.
Ms Slade believes a technology overhaul of the “end-to-end” customer experience is vital to the bank’s digitisation strategy, rather than just solely relying on the interfaces within banking apps.
“We talk a lot about what you can do in the app, but I think the challenge … is actually what is the full end-to-end experience required?” she said.
Her comments come after NAB announced its intention to acquire neobank 86 400, in part to modernise its digital subsidiary UBank.
NAB has not commented if the technology designed by the small player will be implemented across the rest of the bank’s systems.