First Credit Union system switchover leaves members without account access

People waiting in line to sort out their First Credit Union accounts.
Jo Lines-MacKenzie

People waiting in line to sort out their First Credit Union accounts.

First Credit Union customers have been left borrowing from family and queueing for a fix after a system switchover went haywire.

Tomai Houpapa, 21, was one of at least a dozen people standing on Collingwood Street on Wednesday lunchtime, waiting to sort out her account due to the organisation's change of banking systems.

"It's pretty tragic," said Houpapa. "I'm from Te Kuiti, I had to come up today to get it sorted and I may even have to come back next week.

First Credit Union CEO Terry Edwards talking to members who are having problems with their accounts.
Jo Lines-MacKenzie/Stuff

First Credit Union CEO Terry Edwards talking to members who are having problems with their accounts.

"I've had no access to my money since Saturday and I've got a kid I've got to provide for. I had to borrow from family and friends," Houpapa said.

READ MORE: First Credit Union customers report problems after IT upgrade

First Credit Union changed banking systems at the weekend and replaced about 24,500 bank cards with newly-issued Mastercard debit cards.

First Credit Union CEO Terry Edwards, right, handing out lollies to waiting members.
Jo Lines-MacKenzie/Stuff

First Credit Union CEO Terry Edwards, right, handing out lollies to waiting members.

This has meant people have had to get their new card activated but they have been unable to use their old cards since Saturday.

A woman, who asked not to be named, said she worked shift work and couldn't afford to spend hours waiting in line on the footpath to get a new pin.

"I can't access any of my funds until I get a new pin. I've got my pay coming in tomorrow so I need to access it to do what I need to do."

She also said there was a lack of communication with customers about what was going on.

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First Credit Union CEO Terry Edwards said that there had been a wait for members all week as they tried to sort it out but Wednesday was the worst given it is also benefit day.

He said that members had been notified at least a month before the switch happened.

"We are working really hard with the members. It's not a great thing for a member to be standing in a queue. We are not saying it's not a hassle for them."

First Credit Union has 60,000 members but Collingwood St is the biggest branch.

Edwards was talking with members who were standing in line and was handing out lollies as he apologised for the inconvenience. 

He couldn't say how long it would take to fix the situation but was prepared for this week to be the busiest.

Other members were understanding of the situation and were just pleased they weren't having to wait in the rain.

"It's just the same procedure for me as everyone else, I like this bank so I will stay with them," Arahi Edwards said.

"I don't know what is happening and I have got other things to do. But I've banked with them for 15 years and this is the first time something like this has happened. It is only a little bit of inconvenience," Jason Derek said.

"I've never had a problem at all, it is a bit annoying. It's not their fault it's just society with too many computers," Michael Patterson said.

 - Stuff

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