26 Sep 2008

ANZ customer relationships seen as not working

5:41 pm on 26 September 2008

A banking expert says the decision by ANZ National Bank to cut frontline staff at ANZ retail branches raises questions about how effective it has been in attracting customers.

ANZ told employees on Thursday that over-the-counter transactions have dropped 23% since 2003.

It is asking for voluntary redundancies as it reviews the business, along with cuts in overtime and casual work.

Massey University banking studies director David Tripe says it makes sense for ANZ to reduce staff in branches, as more people use the Internet and mobile phones to conduct their banking business.

He says ANZ's customer service profile was in a downward slide in the late 1990s and it appears that efforts to improve the relationship with customers is not paying dividends.

The union representing bank employees, Finsec, says the ANZ has broken earlier promises that frontline staff were safe.

In April, ANZ said it would send 500 back office jobs to India by the end of next year, while its Australian owner plans to cut management jobs on both sides of the Tasman.