Creating your best competitor

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22 September 2010
Bart Narter
National Australia Bank (NAB) is its own best competitor. They've created a stand alone subsidiary called UBank, a branchless bank that is growing by leaps and bounds, well ahead of plan. There are many fascinating things about this initiative.
  1. NAB has chosen to create its own best competition rather than wait for it to come and poach customers.
  2. The bank is separately branded from its corporate parent.
  3. The bank is using its own technology infrastructure, based on Oracle FLEXCUBE, rather than using legacy NAB infrastructure.
  4. U Bank can open a new account in two to five minutes versus five days for NAB.
  5. The bank is planning to use this new technology platform across NAB over time.
The results? The 2 year customer goal was met in six, with over 80,000 customers. The twelve month deposit goal was met in two months. Does your bank need to create its own best competitor or will you wait until someone else does it for you?


  • Hi Bart,
    Your post made me curious and i did visit UBank Website. I was impressed by the whole thought of a bank transferring the benefits(from cost savings through its branchless operations) to its customers. In a banking industry which was till now replicating products and services, UBank's operations is a breakthrough of some sorts.
    Such a service would work wonders in a strong internet penetrated country.

  • I was one of the founding team of UBank, it was an incredible experience with absolute commitment to customer experience... you can see a copy of my presentation to Finovate (May 2010) online here

  • Hello Bart -

    An interesting question, for sure.

    I was the founding General Manager of UBank, so I can't comment on the figures you cite.

    In general though, businesses that go through significant disruption - be it for internal or external reasons - might be better off reinventing themselves rather than trying to change their legacy business model. You can imagine how convoluted some of the large corporates are in terms of their processes and technology after over 100 years in business.

    It's a big step to take for a corporation and it requires vision and good leadership to execute.

    Kind regards


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