NAB nabs 86 400 for £160m as Australian digital bank flatlines

By Aisling Finn on Monday 1 February 2021

Digital Banking

86 400 has over 85,000 customers, holds $375m in deposits, has approved $270m in residential mortgages from 2,500 brokers. 

NAB nabs 86 400 for £160m as Australian digital bank flatlines
Image source: Robert Bell (left)/86 400

National Australia Bank (NAB) has laid out plans to acquire Australian challenger bank 86 400 after it failed to make enough of a dent in the market.

The deal will see NAB absorb 86 400’s 85,000 customers and add them to its own digital banking unit, UBank, which currently has around 60,000 users.

NAB currently holds an 18.3 per cent stake in 86 400 after it took part in the challenger’s most recent $32m Series B fundraise, with the remaining stake costing the Australian about $220m.

Les Matheson, chief operating officer of NAB, said: “Bringing together UBank and 86 400 is consistent with NAB’s long-term strategy and growth plans and will enable us to develop a leading digital bank that can attract and retain customers at scale and pace.” 

“The combined business will deliver accelerated innovation and an enhanced customer experience to create a stronger and more competitive banking alternative for Australian customers.”

Founded in 2017, the digital bank failed to steal customers from Australia’s four largest banks, although 86 400 fared better than its peer Xinja bank, which recently called time on its operations after a downward spiral of losses and high-interest rates contributed to its demise.

Robert Bell, CEO and founder of 86 400, added: “From day one, our purpose has been to help Australians take control of their money. We’ve just rounded out an incredible year, delivered by our phenomenal team of only 120 people, and we’re only just getting started.” 

“This will significantly fast-track our growth, propelling our business, customer numbers and balance sheet to a position which would’ve otherwise taken five years.”

All of 86 400’s independent directors unanimously voted to recommend shareholders support the proposal, with the transaction yet to receive the seal of approval by Australian regulators.

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