Big banks plan to lure you back

The Big Four banks' image has been battered but they're now changing their ways and focusing on becoming more customer-friendly. Here are some of their initiatives:

ANZ Bank.
Restoring Customer Faith project – a new model for branch banking; Customer Charter launched October 2001; fee-free transaction accounts for over-60s from July 2001; simpler lower-cost transaction accounts announced January 2002; Customer Advocate appointed July 2002; moratorium on rural branch closures since July 1999.

National Australia Bank.
Access to Australia Post's giroPost banking service across 2,900 locations; Concession Card Account fee-free banking for eligible holders; Project Red Star – simpler and more transparent account and product pricing; relationship manager for every urban home-loan customer; focus on increasing customer satisfaction; investment of about $10 million in customer network.

Commonwealth Bank.
Maintenance of branch network at 1,000; replacement of 2,300 ATMs plus 350 new ones; expanded call centre network; more transparent account statement from May 2002; online and telephone access services introduced for home-loan customers; Internet-based financial literacy program for youth.

Westpac.
Stopped regional branch closures in November 1998 and metropolitan closures in August 2001; Customer Charter introduced in July 2001; extended trading hours to Saturday in Victoria and Queensland; enhanced safety net for pensioners and the disadvantaged; introduction of talking ATMs in March 2002; improved statements from October 2000; Ask Once customer complaints initiative; customer satisfaction levels have increased to 65 per cent form 59 per cent in 2001.

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