Media Release: Customer & community initiatives
Fri 20 Apr 2001
Published: Fri 20 Apr 2001 11:49:23
Document No: 175783
Document part: A
Market Flag: N
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP 2001-04-20 ASX-SIGNAL-G HOMEX - Melbourne +++++++++++++++++++++++++ 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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.