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We don’t usually praise a bank. But—well done NAB!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

First we said that NAB had ‘trashed its own small business brand’. We said this in March this year because of NAB’s lie that it had made its small business finance contracts comply with the unfair contract laws.

Last week we expressed tentative praise for NAB after it had ditched its bad contracts and come up with new ones. NAB’s self-congratulatory PR seemed to indicate a major step forward. But we said we’d check its standard form contract first.

Well, we’ve obtained its new standard form small business contract and it looks pretty good. You’ll find here:
If you bank with NAB or expect to, we’d anticipate this would be the contract you would receive if obtaining small business finance from them.

What we like about the contract is the following.
a) It’s in ordinary person’s language. It’s pretty much removed the legal mumbo-jumbo that’s designed to confuse people and force you to get a lawyer to understand the contract. Tick!
b) It uses personal pronouns ‘you, we, us’ etc. That is, the contract says “we will do this”… “you will need to do that”. This wording makes for greater understanding and clarity. Tick!
c) It’s relatively short and to the point. Only 21 pages. Tick!
d) Nothing sneaky. We’ve looked hard but we can’t see any clauses that might suggest a meaning different to that which appears. Tick!
e) Obligations clarity. It states fairly clearly your obligations to the bank and its obligations to you. Tick!
f) No unfair clauses. Again, we’ve looked closely and we can’t find any clauses that might breach the new unfair contract laws. Tick!
Again, we’re delighted that our nearly 10-year campaign to achieve the unfair contract laws is having serious impact. But congrats to NAB! It has taken on board not just the specifics but also the spirit of the new laws and produced a sensible contract that people can understand.

We’ve said it before. What’s important is that as contracts are progressively cleaned up, the Australian economy will undergo major change. Small business people will have a fairer environment in which to operate. This will improve competition, entrepreneurship and make Australia a stronger, fairer society. NAB has taken an important lead in this.
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