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NAB confirms 50m+ monthly cyber attacks, warns brokers

by Fabian Cotter13 minute read
NAB confirms 50m+ monthly cyber attacks, warns brokers

Incessant cyber attacks per month have prompted NAB chief executive, Ross McEwan, to issue mortgage brokers themselves a timely warning.

More than 50 million cyber attacks from hackers to National Australia Bank’s (NAB) digital channels have impelled the big four bank’s chief executive officer, Ross McEwan, to caution mortgage brokers: “It’s not just us going to get attacked.”

Speaking online via NAB’s Forward View event — tailored discourse and Q&A with representatives of the Australian mortgage broking industry — Mr McEwan broached the topic of cyber security, given the bank’s increasingly bigger investment into prevention and gave a frank account of the magnitude of the problem.

“We’ve got a big investment in the bank, and then in the next year it’s up about $100 million over last year,” Mr Ross confirmed.


“Some of that’s to do with something very topical at the moment, which is cyber fraud and scams as well. I mean we’re getting attacked as a bank 50 million plus times a month, attacks into our digital channels.

“And that’s something our broker community really needs to look out for as youre running your own businesses.

“It’s not just us [that’s] going to get attacked.

“These people these are criminals.

“They are after data of customers, so it’s something we’re spending additional money on and we’re also spending money on just making sure that all the basics of KYC for anti-money laundering and the likes are in place.

“And that’s our commitment for ’23 and ’24 [getting] the basics [right], using technology to make it simpler or better interactions, so we can actually spend the time having great conversations with customers.

“I’m pretty excited with the program weve got…

Our mortgage business will continue to do very well, I believe — but only with our broker support.

“Sixty per cent of our volumes are now coming out of the broker community, a big thank you for that,” Mr Ross said.

“The world is changing for all of us at the moment — and we just need to all make sure that were doing the right thing with customers..."

Through the looking glass

NAB’s Forward View event - approximately one month after it released its comprehensive Market Megatrends report - focussed on the third-party channel and featured tips, chat and insights into the latest trends to help [broker] businesses “adapt and grow in a dynamic market.”

Senior NAB executives and industry leaders included NAB CEO Ross McEwan; MFAA chief executive officer Anja Pannek; NAB group chief economist Alan Oster; NAB’s head of behavioural and industry economics Dean Pearson; NAB executive - broker distribution Phil Waugh, among other staff members.

In terms of current economic conditions and ‘true impact’ currently on borrowers in general and what perceptions the bank could provide that’s come via its channels and research, Mr McEwan offered a valuable reality check against a strident greater media backdrop.

“You're seeing sort of two worlds at the moment, one which you're hearing in the news or seeing in the newspapers versus what customers themselves are saying to both our broker colleagues and to ourselves when we get out to see them,” he explained.

“So if you have a look at customers, yes, they're being hit with higher interest rates as the loans come off the fixed rate - and just remembering a lot of customers are ahead on payments, so the impact is, yes, it hurts but it's nowhere near what the impact of the papers are talking about.”

“Secondly, they've all got jobs. The job market has stayed really strong, so that's positive for the customers that have borrowed.

“With unemployment … at 3.4 or 3.5 per cent is the lowest we’ve seen in a long time and when customers have a job, they tend to pay off their mortgages.”

Safe as houses, or are they?

“We're now starting to see house prices come off, probably about 5 per cent this year and there'll be more next year, but we saw 21 per cent increase in house prices [in] 2021.

“We're seeing good growth. It's now changing quite dramatically and customers, as they come off their two-year fixed rates or their standard variable is moving up, are looking for ‘Am I on the best package?’ - and you know they're obviously coming to their broker to actually see what you can do for them.

“And I think that is the market we're going to be in for the next couple of years at least, so we were very well aware of that and I think we are geared up to look after our broker colleagues as well as customers, as they come to us - but most customers are in good shape.”

Business customer strength

Echoing comments filtering through the industry about SMEs et al, Mr McEwan underlined that NAB’s business customers are “surprisingly resilient.”

“And today on both personal customers and business customers, we are not seeing any roll through into difficulty in either of those parts of our business.”

“Now we believe there will be some uplift in payments coming through [in] 2023 and '24, but it's not being experienced at the moment, so it’s a good market.

“Full employment helps, but customers are feeling some pressure.

“They're feeling the pressure of higher cost of energy; higher costs of fuel in their car; higher cost of food at the supermarket - everywhere they go prices are being lifted up on them.

“And it does over time, they're starting to change their behaviour.

“That's something that the broker community will see when you're doing reviews with customers,” he commented.

[Related: As home loans fall, NAB eyes business lending ‘homeland]

ross mcewan nab mb vliz


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