National Australia Bank is to shed 6000 jobs and retire up to 20% of its existing IT applications and 50% of its product line under a three-year programme designed to simplify the bank and reshape the workforce for the digital age.
NAB expects to take a one-off impairment charge of up to $800 million as part of the restructure and invest an additional $1.5 billion in preparing the bank for a new era of competition.
The job losses will cut across all section of NAB's workforce, but will be mitigated by a recruitment drive that will see 2000 new roles created for people with distinct skills in data sciences, AI and robotics automation.
In a conference call announcing the bank's Q3 results, Andrew Thorburn, NAB CEO, says: "I think all big businesses - particularly incumbent businesses - the reshaping of the workforce is going to be significant. What we’re doing is we’re simplifying the bank. And as we simplify, we automate processes and things move to digital channels. We will need less people."
Despite the digital agenda, Thorburn remains wedded to the bricks-and-mortar proposition for face-to-face communications, but says that the branch network will move to accommodate changes in the economy and population, citing the creation of ten new branches in the fast-growth urban corridors in western Sydney and Melbourne.