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Westpac At Fault In Student Payment Problem

For immediate release

Wednesday 9 June 2004

Westpac At Fault In Student Payment Problem

Westpac has completed an investigation into a problem that occurred yesterday with student loans and allowances.

“Our investigation has concluded that Westpac made an error in the processing of the files received from the Ministry of Social Development, resulting in 29,876 students not getting their loans or allowance payments processed as normal,” said Westpac’s General Manager, Business Banking, Bruce McLachlan.

“Westpac would like to apologise to the students and the Ministry and assure both that we will work closely with the Ministry to closely examine existing practices for the delivery and processing of the payment files, to ensure this does not happen over public holiday weekends in future,” Bruce McLachlan said.

He said that Westpac’s immediate priority yesterday had been rectifying the error and ensuring that the payments were processed correctly. This occurred for Westpac customers – about 7000 of the affected students – by early afternoon. The payment files were made available to other banks shortly afterward.

Westpac has set in place a process to ensure that there are no dishonour or penalty fees imposed on its customers, as a result of their being unable to meet automatic or cheque payments, and to reverse those that do occur. Westpac has also asked that the other banks show leniency to students affected by the delay.

Westpac has reimbursed fees charged to its customers today. Students who have accounts with other banks should first make contact with their banks. Alternatively, they can call at their nearest Westpac branch or phone Westpac on 0800 400 600.

ENDS

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