Flak flies over ANZ's online changes

ANZ is facing an online storm as customers take to the bank's Facebook page to air their dissatisfaction about changes to the online banking platform since the merger with National Bank.

Customer Bruce Waldman congratulated ANZ's IT teams for accomplishing such a complex transfer of accounts "apparently expeditiously and with so few errors".

"But like so many other long-term ANZ customers, I am appalled that you've moved your customers from what was close to a real-time system to an overnight batch processing system. That's like going back in time 40 years to IBM punch cards," he wrote.

"Many loyal National Bank customers were going to flee as the ANZ signs went up anyway (and for good reason). But why couldn't you have foreseen the groundswell of resentment, which I fully share, of ANZ customers being forced to adapt to such an archaic online banking system?

"The IT team seemingly have performed brilliantly but upper management appear to have exercised very poor judgement in how they planned the transition."

Waldman said in New Zealand the ANZ brand should have been merged in the National Bank brand, not the other way around. Then, he said, National Bank customers should have been moved to the ANZ internet banking platform.

Customer Ray McCully wrote to Sunday Star-Times that the theme of media coverage was that ANZ risked losing many National Bank customers.

"In reality they have gone out of their way to lose ANZ customers. ANZ internet banking was probably the best in NZ until their recent ‘upgrade'."

He said no warning was given of the removal of good features.

"About 20 features are now missing," he said

ANZ is defending the move, saying the National Bank internet platform is rated highly by National Bank customers "who had been using it for many years".

"Many improvements have been made over that time and it was ranked No 1, according to Neilson ratings immediately prior to conversion," a spokesman said.

More than a million customers access their accounts via the combined internet banking site.

"Most of our approximately 500,000 ANZ internet banking customers have taken to the new site with ease and we have noticed exponential growth in use of the features that ANZ customers haven't previously had," he said.

"Some expressed their views about the new site, and that's great. This provides good ideas we can take on board when making future improvements."

ANZ said the number of customers who had asked for help had dropped steadily as people became familiar with the site. ANZ has a range of further improvements coming up in both internet banking and mobile for iPhone and Android.

"The first one in March includes improvements to payments and introducing PDF versions of statements and tax certificates.

"Restoring ANZ to ANZ instant payments is planned for mid 2013."

ANZ admitted there are constraints on the new system and some missing features.

An online reponse from a customer service representative on Facebook said: "We are keenly aware there are some features that this current version of internet banking doesn't have and we look forward to rolling out these and many other new features in the coming months now we are on our new technology platform."

The ANZ spokesman said there were a lot of advantages to the new IT system, but there were some technical constraints, such as processing times.

"Internet banking payments used to be processed between 2am and 4am on the due date, but this was moved to between 10pm and 12am on the due date."

He said customers were advised in advance of the changes.

Sunday Star Times