NAB is preparing to fire more than 100 IT staff as it cancels projects and begins a business restructure amid a pandemic.

The shake-up will see over 2,500 staff re-apply for jobs within the bank while it cuts some 1,200 roles in the overhaul, Nine newspapers reported.

In a leaked staff email, NAB’s CEO, Ross McEwan, said the changes had already been “flowing” through different parts of the business and were set to “continue for a little while yet”.

"I'm aware that this creates anxiety and is impacting our colleagues," McEwan said.

“My ask of everyone, and particularly of our people leaders, is to do this with care, compassion and support and as quickly as possible to provide our colleagues with certainty in what is an incredibly uncertain world.

“At the same time we are creating hundreds of new roles with an emphasis on how we can better support our customers.”

In 2017, NAB started boosting its technology spend, adding an extra $1.5 billion to digital transformation projects and hiring some 2,000 IT specialists under its former CEO.

But in March, McEwan began slashing projects, culling contractors and consultants, as COVID-19 hit Australia’s shores.

McEwan was picked for the CEO job 12 months ago and will receive an annual pay packet of at least $2.5 million with the potential to stack on large performance bonuses.

With interest rates nearing zero and banks freezing loan repayments, the pandemic has shrunk profitability.

NAB recently paid out its lowest dividend in 40 years – giving shareholders 30 cents per share down from 83 cents in December.

A NAB spokesperson said changes had forced “some difficult but essential decisions” which will mean the loss of some roles that are no longer necessary”.

The bank is continuing its cloud migration, however, announcing last month it was signing on with Microsoft Azure for a five-year agreement that will see the vast majority of NAB’s applications pushed to the cloud in the coming years.

NAB expected that project to help thousands of staff upskill through Microsoft’s training program.

The bank will need to be careful shuffling staff around IT projects after its rival Westpac was caught failing to meet its reporting obligations.

Westpac could be facing a $900 million fine for a catastrophic error it blamed on the implementation of a new IT system that was botched thanks to “resource constraints in the relevant technology team”.