Faster service from the ANZ

ANZ Bank CEO John McFarlane has promised that people using branches won't have to wait more than five minutes to be served. The five-minute commitment is part of ANZ's attempts to differentiate itself from the other big banks, unveiled yesterday as part of its Restoring Customer Faith program. The five-minute pledge is a variation of the promise introduced, then axed, by Mr McFarlane's predecessor Don Mercer in 1994. Mr Mercer offered a $5 credit to anyone who waited for service in a branch for longer than five minutes. Mr McFarlane contemplated reviving this but customer feedback made him decide not to: people don't want to spend more time filling in forms for $5, they just want to be served more quickly. Queues drive people “insane”, said Mr McFarlane.

The new charter also commits the ANZ to answering phone queries within one minute and reiterates the bank's promise not to close any more rural branches.

Mr McFarlane said that the five-minute service pledge will be measured and assessed by external auditors. But he personally put it to the test in the ANZ's main Sydney city branch on the corner of Pitt and Hunter Streets yesterday. He took his queue ticket at 2.06pm and began waiting. The tellers had not been given notice that he was in the branch and timing them. At 2.10pm, his ticket number flashed on the electronic board. Made it – just.