In a departure from my usual theme in this blog about communications and media developments, I feel compelled to share my recent experience with the National Australia Bank (NAB). Apparently, the NAB failed it’s customers and us by not “being ready” to process the settlement of our residential property on the due date. This was after the NAB had refused their customer’s request to bring the settlement forward apparently due to “having everything ready to go” on the due date. Instead of meeting this very basic standard of banking performance, we were advised by our solicitors that the NAB would settle two days after the due date. Not just content to bungle the due date, it took them two days to get their act together. That’s incredibly slack performance.
The NAB’s failure to perform on the due date had high-stress consequences for us as we had contractually obligations to meet that were contingent on settlement going through on the due date. As it turned out, with the help of our bank (the ANZ) we were able to get our funds cleared to meet our obligations in time.
While things worked out OK for us in the end, I’m told that banks in Australia miss settling residential property by the due date around 25% of the time. One in every four property settlements are bungled by our banks. Why is that? Some put it down to a lack of competition, that the banks don’t care enough about providing decent service. Whatever the reason, it seems that banking staff feel they can be very lax about service and get away with it.
Now, I know that the GFC has shattered a few myths about the quality of banking performance, but are we not supposed to have trust in confidence in our banking system to get the basics right? Not in Australia it seems.