National Australia Bank (NAB) is to commit AUS$2bn ($1.38bn) to support Australia's technology sector.
The capital will be focused on "tech innovators" and startups, providing them with loans and access to capital markets in roder to help them build their businesses. In addition, the bank said it would offer transactional banking and risk management support.
"This commitment is about giving technology companies with demonstrated potential for growth the shot-in-the-arm they need to be bigger and better," said NAB Business and Private Banking chief customer officer Anthony Healy said. "These tech-driven companies are often already profitable but need further capital and banking expertise to grow."
The bank set up its own tech venture capital arm in 2015 called NAB Ventures which targetted startups. It was set up with an intial $50m which was doubled last year, providing a treasure chest of $100m through to 2020. With its latest capital commitment, NAB will focus exclusively on high growth tech companies, said Healy.
NAB has also recently teamed up with Amazon Web Services to launch NAB Cloud Guild, an initiative desgined to help address the bank's internal skills shortage, a situation that has possibly arisen from an extensive reorganisation of its workforce in recent years.
In 2017, NAB announced plans to cut 6,000 jobs as a result of automation. It has since announced another plan to recruit 2,000 new workers by 2020 as it reshapes its workforce. Technology specialists are epxected to make up a singificant number of the new employees.
NAB also came in for sharp criticism, along with other Australian banks, from a royal commission report into workplace culture at the country's leading banks. the blistering critique led to the resignaiton of the NAB's chairman Ken Henry and chief executive Andrew Thorburn.