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Focus on branch network paying dividends for BNZ

30 June 2004

Media release – for immediate use

Focus on branch network paying dividends for Bank of New Zealand in ACNielsen Survey

Bank of New Zealand continues to make inroads into customer satisfaction with ACNielsen’s Quarter 1 2004 Consumer Finance Monitor reporting that the bank offers the best branch service of all major banks and Kiwibank.

The quarterly survey shows that 75% of Bank of New Zealand main bank customers rated its branch service as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’, an increase of eight percentage points from the previous quarter.

The survey was for February-April 2004. Kiwibank rated 72%, National Bank 70%, ASB 69%, Westpac 63%, and ANZ 62%.

Blair Vernon, Bank of New Zealand’s general manager for personal financial services, says the branch network remains the focus for customer satisfaction, and the bank has implemented two initiatives this year aimed at improving service in branches.

“Despite being able to use the phone, Internet and ATMs, we recognise that customers still enjoy going to their local branch and discussing their banking face-to-face with someone from their community,” he says.

”Bank of New Zealand has re-introduced the branch manager into branches, whose role it is to drive customer satisfaction and make decisions at a local level.”

Bank of New Zealand has also installed a new $25 million tellers’ computer system that allows faster transaction times for customers and replaces a system that has been in use for more than 20 years. The new system means that tellers can now carry out far more tasks without leaving their desk, including verifying signatures and loading PIN numbers in front of the customer.

“As this system rolls out throughout the country, it will lead to further improvements in branch customer satisfaction,” he says.

Mr Vernon says Bank of New Zealand is making the most of the opportunity in 2004 to take the battle for market share to its key competitors by focusing on improving service and introducing new products.

In the last year Bank of New Zealand has improved significantly in a number of key performance indicators. The University of Auckland’s retail bank survey showed that Bank of New Zealand’s customer satisfaction is up 14 percentage points to 71%* and a recent survey of banking products by a leading consumer magazine reported Bank of New Zealand as one of the big improvers in the survey.

“We’ve enhanced our ATMs, which are now among the fastest in the market,” said Mr Vernon. “We’ve introduced Smart Money, a bank account for under-30s that is making noise in the youth market,” he says.

“In the home loan market, our decision to no longer use brokers means we can offer excellent rates direct to customers”.

The bank has also introduced ‘bank smarter’, a new television and print advertising campaign.

- ends -

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