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Media Release: Customer & community initiatives

Document date:  Fri 20 Apr 2001
Published:  Fri 20 Apr 2001 11:49:23
Document No:  175783
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  N
Classification:  Other

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP       2001-04-20  ASX-SIGNAL-G

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

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ANZ today announced a number of measures as a first step in improving
the bank's value to customers and its relationship with the
community. These include:

* Unlimited fee-free over the counter transactions for customers aged
60 or over from their ANZ personal transaction account. The change,
effective 1 July 2001, acknowledges the greater reliance that older
customers have on face to face banking and the difficulties some
experience in adapting to new technology.

* A new Customer Charter which will set clear benchmarks for the
provision of service to customers including commitments on access to
services, personal information and an improved complaint resolution
process. A key feature of the Charter will be a financial donation
payable by ANZ to the registered charity of the customer's choice, if
it does not meet its complaint resolution standards. The Charter will
be finalised after discussion with regulators, government and
consumer groups and will be introduced by 1 October 2001.

* Appointment of a senior Customer Advocate to ensure the
satisfactory resolution of customer issues and complaints.

* Improvements and greater funding for ANZ's community relations
program which will become more focused on issues affecting ANZ
customers and the communities in which ANZ operates. These include
funding the Victorian Credit HelpLine and independent research into
adult financial literacy.

* Paid leave for staff who volunteer for community service.

ANZ Chief Executive Officer Mr John McFarlane said that over the past
three years ANZ had made considerable progress in rebuilding its
financial and operating base but needed to make equivalent progress
with customer service and the community.

"We know we still have a long way to go but today's announcement is
an important first step in redressing that imbalance. We will
establish clear service standards for our customers and a process for
ensuring we meet them," Mr McFarlane said.

"Establishing a Customer Charter should result in a seachange in the
way we relate to customers and to the community. These measures are
formal recognition by all of us at ANZ that we need to change and
that we are committed to change. Tangible action is what is now
required," he said.


For media enquiries, contact:

Paul Edwards 
HEAD OF GROUP MEDIA RELATIONS 
Telephone: 03-9273 6955 or 0409-655 550 (mobile) 
Email:     edwardp12@anz.com 


DETAILS ON CUSTOMER AND COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

FACE-TO-FACE BANKING FOR OLDER CUSTOMERS

Customers aged 60 or over will be provided with a fee exemption for
all branch transactions from their ANZ personal transaction account.
Previously, for example, the ANZ Access account provided eight
fee-free withdrawals per month including two over the counter.

The change acknowledges the greater reliance older customers have on
face to face banking and the difficulties some experience in adapting
to new technology. The exemptions will apply from 1 July 2001.

CUSTOMER CHARTER

Conceptually modelled on the AAMI Customer Charter introduced in
1996, and similar overseas models, the ANZ Customer Charter will make
promises encompassing the bank's commitment to customer service
standards.

ANZ will also publicly report its compliance with its Customer
Charter every year. The report will be independently audited. The
Charter will be regularly reviewed and updated. ANZ plans to
introduce the Charter from 1 October 2001, to allow consultation with
stakeholders on its content and mechanisms.

CUSTOMER ADVOCATE

The Customer Advocate will act as the internal advocate for retail
bank customers including small business customers. The Advocate will
act on behalf of customers when the ANZ's existing customer complaint
and dispute resolutions have been exhausted.

The Advocate will complement, not substitute, the Australian Banking
Industry Ombudsman to whom customers will continue to have access.
The ANZ Customer Advocate will begin from 1 October 2001.

COMMUNITY RELATIONS

ANZ has traditionally supported a wide range of arts, charity and
other programs. While ANZ will continue to be involved in this
traditional approach to corporate community relations in a limited
way, it will become more directly involved in issues affecting
customers and the communities in which it operates. For example the
ANZ has recently commenced funding the Victorian Credit HelpLine
service, a phone counselling service for consumers in need of
financial counselling related to credit.

As part of this new approach ANZ will fund a major study into adult
financial literacy. The research will be paid for by ANZ but will be
carried out by an independent firm with the results to be made
public.

VOLUNTEERING

ANZ is introducing paid leave for all staff who wish to volunteer
service to the community. The move is part of an effort by ANZ to
develop a culture that values providing service to the community and
acknowledges staff already volunteering in the community.

ANZ will provide a half day paid leave per year for staff
volunteering service to the community and a further half day paid
leave if the staff member contributes a half day of their own time.
Up to 12 months continuous leave without pay is also available for
volunteer service to the community.