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ASB Bank Introduces Low Cost Banking Option


MEDIA RELEASE
2 November 2001


ASB Bank Introduces Low Cost Banking Option
And Revises Fees


Statement made by Barbara Chapman, Head of Retail Banking and Marketing, ASB Bank Limited


ASB Bank has responded to the challenge of bank fees and charges by introducing a new transaction account that will allow customers to minimise the fees they pay.
To be known as Streamline, the account will be available from 19 November, 2001.

The account is designed for people who are frequent users of their account through automated devices such as Eftpos, and who wish to keep the fees they pay to the absolute minimum. For this reason we have set the Eftpos transaction charge at 20 cents, which is lower than the Eftpos charge for all other ASB Bank accounts.

The Bank believes there is a strong demand in the market for a low cost banking option that is also practical and flexible, and has structured an account to provide this for customers who are frequent users of automation.

As only 6% of banking transactions are now initiated in branches, the new account responds to today’s focus on electronic banking.

We view the introduction of Streamline as a significant development. Banks can no longer provide a service which is free to everyone but have a responsibility to respond to changing customer demand and provide options which minimise the cost of banking to customers.

ASB Bank has held its fees and charges for more than two years, and following the introduction of Streamline, we will from December 1, 2001 be increasing some fees. The key changes are that ATM fees will increase to 50 cents (from 35 cents) in some products to more accurately reflect the cost of providing that service, and cheque fees will increase to 65 cents (from 50 cents) to further reduce the cross subsidisation of that service.

Base fee rebate thresholds in two accounts have also been lifted from $500 to $1000, which standardises this rebate level across our current core product range.

Existing rebates for Superannuitants, customers under age 18, and customers who have a significant banking relationship, such as a home loan, with us will not be changing.

We are advertising these new charges in the public notice columns of newspapers and notifying customers individually.

For the majority of customers, the key issue is having easy access to a full range of services, and paying a fair charge to use those services. Our new charges reflect the cost to the Bank of providing those services.

By introducing our new, low cost account before we modify fees, we are giving our customers the option to change to the accounts that best suits their needs.

As part of the changes we are inviting customers to take a Financial Health Check, which will enable us to advise them which accounts will give them the most cost effective banking option.

Ends.

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