Major bank creates role for customer focus

by Rebecca Pike21 May 2018

In response to concerns raised over the way banks handle customer issues, Westpac has created a new role.

Carolyn McCann is taking on the position of group executive, customer and corporate relations. She is currently working as general manager, corporate affairs and sustainability.

Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said the creation of the role recognized the importance of setting high service standards and quickly resolving customer issues in managing the bank’s relationship with its customers and the broader community.

One of the biggest issues brought out of the Royal Commission showed banks had been charging advice fees where no advice was given.

ASIC chair James Shipton said in a speech on May 17 that it had also demonstrated the industry’s poor ability to identify and deal with misconduct like this. He also suggested poor customer outcomes due to possible conflicts of interests in broker remuneration.

Hartzer admitted the group had been too slow in resolving customer issues. He added, “Westpac aspires to be one of the world’s great service companies, delivering superior customer service and helping our customers to meet their financial goals.

“Appointing a group executive to oversee our customer resolution teams, alongside our corporate affairs and sustainability functions, is an important step in meeting our commitment to delivering superior customer service.

“We are committed to running Westpac in a way that is fair to customers and supports them over the long term.  And while we’re making good progress on our commitment to ‘get it right’ in the first place, it’s also important that we ‘put it right’ for our customers when things go wrong.

“It’s clear that in a number of instances we have been too slow in resolving genuine customer issues. This is not good enough. Customers have a right to expect fair, timely, and effective resolution if they believe they have a concern or complaint.

“The new customer and corporate relations division will raise the importance and urgency around both objectives, as well as maintaining open lines of communication with all of our stakeholder groups so that we can identify and resolve the root causes of any new issues.”

McCann joined Westpac in 2013 with responsibility for external affairs, communications, government relations and sustainability across the Westpac Group.

Prior to joining Westpac, she spent 13 years at Insurance Australia Group in various positions, including group general manager, corporate affairs and investor relations, where she had responsibility for corporate affairs, investor relations, brand integrity, government relations and stakeholder engagement.

 

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