Archive for the 'National Australia Bank' Category

Is NAB tightening the leash?

Piggybank on leashBNZ has just announced that it has appointed National Australia Bank’s group chief financial officer, Michael Ullmer, as a director, effective from last week.  Ullmer is the second most senior executive at NAG after CEO, John Stewart, and a possible successor to the top job.  NAB also recently appointed Australian Cameron Clyne to be the CEO at BNZ.  So it’s fair to assume that the BNZ board will have mixed feelings if the All Blacks and the Wallabies face each other in the next few weeks.  (I wonder if they own one of these?)

So, does this appointment mean that the BNZ, which previously had a reputation for having more freedom from Australian control than most New Zealand banks is about to lose some of that independence?


NAB sends 41 more jobs to Bangalore

 Kathakali BangaloreThe National Australia Bank (NAB), which owns the BNZ, confirmed 41 back office jobs will be sent to Bangalore in India by the end of the year.

According to the Australian Financial Sector Union (FSU), the jobs impacted are in the wealth management area and finance and accounting jobs and also the direct sales and services area.

NAB claims that the money saved from these ‘efficiency gains’ will be reinvested back in front line customer service.

The FSU meanwhile says that the outsourcing again raises the safety concern for customers of having their private financial data sent off shore and to a third party whom they do not know.

NAB has now outsourced between 300 and 500 jobs.

The FSU’s spokesperson, Rod Masson, told the Sydney Morning Herald it was important to debate the offshoring trend in the context of what Australians wanted the finance and service industries to look like now and into the future.

“The jobs being lost today are highly skilled accountancy, financial and taxation reporting jobs,” he said.

“They are value-adding functions and as a country we should be looking at investing in these skills, not flogging them off overseas to the lowest bidder.”

(thanks to blackfin2 for the photo)

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate Social Responsibility?One of the buzz phrases in the Australasian finance industry at present is corporate social responsibility.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) suggests that companies should consider not just the economic impact of their actions but also the social, employment and environmental impacts.

And as Attracta Lagan writes the stakes are huge:

“Business will determine the quality of the air we breathe, the fuel we burn, the food we eat and the water we drink. So too, it is business that will shape the emergence of a global society by determining who is included, who is informed, who gets what and which human rights are enshrined in the global workplace.”

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development defines CSR as “the continuing commitment by business to behave ethically and contribute to economic development while improving the quality of life of the workforce and their families as well as of the local community and society at large.”

One key element of CSR is ensuring that your workforce is treated fairly including fair pay and conditions, employment equity, occupational health and safety and work-life balance.

In the 1990s business leaders could get away with, or even be lauded for their blinkered focus on profits at the expense of all else. But these days more and more businesses, banks and finance companies included, are expected to work towards and report on their corporate social responsibilities. For instance here are the latest reports from Westpac, NAB, ANZ and Vero. Information in the NAB report helped Finsec identify serious staffing issues at the BNZ earlier this year.

So, as the Bill McKibben noted last year, all but the most recalcitrant multinationals are clambering to be seen as socially responsible corporates:

“Which is nice. The question is, what does it amount to?

“Take BP. In 2004, its revenues from solar power were almost $400 million; its total revenues, almost entirely from hydrocarbons, were $285 billion. In other words, the company has gone beyond petroleum to the tune of about one-sixth of 1 percent of sales.”

McKibben argues that we can’t leave the job of social responsibility to corporations to manage on their own. We need to use our political power as citizens to monitor them, to set them our own goals for what is acceptable and push them along:

“In fact, corporations are the infants of our society—they know very little except how to grow (though they’re very good at that), and they howl when you set limits. Socializing them is the work of politics. It’s about time we took it up again.”

(thanks to davescunningplan for the photo)

Looking for a new CEO at NAB

John Stewart, the CEO of National Australia Bank, who is about to leave his job, has told the ABC that he would like an internal successor to replace him (hint, nudge, wink, Ahmed Fahour, eh)

BNZ staff, were not interviewed by the ABC about what they think, but its expected that the new NAB CEO will have more impact upon their lives than he or she will upon John Stewart, who will be leaving the bank having received remuneration benefits of over AU$8.4 million in the past year.

Now is the time for Clyne to invest

Cameron ClyneThere has been a lot of news recently about BNZ’s new CEO, Cameron Clyne. He’s clearly out to make a mark, cutting and reorganising senior management roles and reopening the open plan office debate.

If, as the business commentators are suggesting, Clyne is using his time at the BNZ to position himself for the top job at BNZ’s parent company NAB, there are two ways to he can catch the attention of NAB’s board of directors. Reshuffling and restructuring management structures is one way and will certainly impress some business commentators in the media in the short term. The other way would be embarking on a long term investment strategy that raises staff levels, invests in quality and removes the pressure on staff to sell debt products rather than focus on customer service. This would be a more sustainable long term approach. Let’s hope that Clyne and NAB have time on their side.

Smashing stuff with the peoples’ hammer

SpongeBobFor those of you who don’t know, SpongeBob SquarePants and his friend Squidward Tentacles are union activists:

SpongeBob: Alright, Mr. Krabs, you’ve gone too far this time! You can pick on me, but Squidward is a great leader! We are workers united! We’re gonna saw your tables and we’re gonna smash stuff with the peoples’ hammer! And we’re gonna… we’re gonna… Squidward what was that other part?

Squidward: Dismantle your oppressive establishment.

SpongeBob: And that too! And me and Squidward are gonna stay on strike until we get what we deserve! Even if it takes forever!

I didn’t know that either, until I came across this Nation Magazine article which relates how SpongeBob SquarePants and Squidward’s employment woes were neatly mirroring the frustration of working people in America.

Author Annabelle Gurwitch, concludes with some advice for workers in America:

“Lastly, if you have to work in America today, for goodness sake, be the CEO or COO of a large corporation. According to the Economic Policy Institute, at the current federal minimum wage of $5.15 per hour, it takes a full fifty-two-week year of work to earn what the average CEO earns before lunch on Monday. It’s enough to make you want to apply for a job at the Krusty Krab.”

You’ll be please to know that things are much better here in New Zealand. John Stewart, CEO of National Australia Bank, which owns the BNZ, needs to come back after lunch on Monday and work through to afternoon tea to earn the full year’s salary of one of his Grade M New Zealand tellers

(thanks to SirCharlie for the photo)

BNZ statistics suggest understaffing

Kath BrownAccording to the BNZ’s Social Responsibility Report average employee turnover last year was 24.8% That means one in four people will leave the BNZ each year. In 2006 staff at BNZ took a cumulative 16,314 less days annual leave than they did the previous year. What’s happening?

The gossip went to ask BNZ Union Councillor, Kath Brown:

‘One reason would be that a lot of our banking advisors are not replaced during the time that they take their annual leave. So they’ll take annual leave, and where they used to take two weeks and come back and somebody would have filled in for them, they are now only taking one week because nobody fills in and they come back to an absolute mess and feel like they haven’t had a holiday.”

Kath also draw attention to the statistics on overtime:

“The report says that there is 72 % of us that work overtime at BNZ and only 47% at National Australia Bank. That to me raises questions. Is that because our work ethic here at BNZ is higher? Or is it because we have all just got to the stage that we know it is expected of us? Or is it because National Australia Bank has far higher staffing levels? Some of those questions would be nice to be answered wouldn’t they?”

MP3 Audio iconYou can listen to more of Kath’s interview with the Gossip here.

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